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Synopsis: ‘Ngumu’, shines a spotlight on the incredible female porters of Mt Kilimanjaro for the first time. Being a porter on the world’s highest free standing mountain is tough enough. Being a female porter in a heavily male dominated role brings a whole extra set of challenges. Today only 18% of the workforce on Kilimanjaro are women. 10 years ago there were none. This powerful new film follows Olympic Gold Medallist Crista Cullen as she embarks on an journey with the pioneering female porters of Mt Kilimanjaro. Kenyan raised and a Swahili speaker, she was able to delve into their world and hear their as-yet-untold story. To understand what it takes to be a porter on Kilimanjaro – she became one. And to experience it as authentically as possible this meant carrying the 20kg load, as the women do… on her head! In Tanzania the Swahili word for porter is ‘Ngumu’ which translates to ‘tough.’ This documentary raises awareness of the challenges and advancements of women on the mountain and promotes the growth of the female workforce.


Factual, Adventure, Travel





Run Time

22 minutes


Crista Cullen

Directed by

Olly Pemberton

Director's Statement

Porters are the literal backbone of any big commercial trek, allowing clients to explore the higher regions of our planet in comfort. They therefore rightly deserve as big a spotlight as they can get. In creating this film it was very important for me to highlight the journey that women have gone through with this role. Also to give them a platform for a story that is not usually heard. Luckily for me I had a trump card in the form of a Swahili speaking Olympic Gold medallist Crista Cullen to help tell their story…

Director's Bio

Olly Pemberton is an award-winning Director, Cameraman and Editor. As a Producer/Director and Cameraman he comes with a wide experience of filming all over the world with Adventure brands and Charitable organisations. His film “Nepal – one year on” telling the story of the relief effort for a remote village after the earthquake of 2015 was nominated for an award and featured on radio and TV. His film “Carried Away” about the porters of the Inca Trail in Peru was also recently nominated for 6 separate awards and was a winner in the 2019 Mountain Film Festival.

Country of Origin

United Kingdom

Production Year


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