x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Top of the world: UAE resident scales Everest for Bangladeshi slum children

Maria Conceicao, who lives in Dubai, reached the summit on Tuesday and was one of four UAE-based climbers to achieve the feat within two days.

Maria Conceicao reached the summit of Mount Everest on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Maria Cristina Foundation
Maria Conceicao reached the summit of Mount Everest on Tuesday. Photo courtesy Maria Cristina Foundation

DUBAI // Maria Conceicao, the founder of a charity that helps Bangladeshi slum children, has climbed to the top of Everest.

The aim of the ascent was to boost awareness of the youngsters' plight and raise US$1million (Dh3.7m) to help them. The amount she has managed to raise has still to be calculated.

Portuguese Ms Conceicao, who lives in Dubai, reached the summit on Tuesday and was one of four UAE-based climbers to achieve the feat within two days.

On Wednesday Qatari national Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, who lives in Sharjah, and Dubai residents Raed Zidan, a Kuwait-born Palestinian, and Iranian Masoud Mohammed climbed to the top.

"I am deeply honoured and humbled by the overwhelming support I have received," said Ms Conceicao, 35.

"Once I reached the summit, all the physical, emotional and psychological stress that I endured were completely worth it as I strongly believe that more people will now join me to give the children and people of Bangladesh an opportunity to live better lives."

The climb was backed by leading companies such as Etihad Airways and Nike. Ms Conceicao launched the Maria Cristina Foundation in 2010 after seeing conditions in the slums of Dhaka while working as an Emirates flight attendant.

When Ms Conceicao was two her mother became ill, and a widowed Angolan refugee called Cristina Matos took her into her home in Portugal and raised her.

Ms Conceicao paid tribute to Ms Matos by holding a photo of her at the summit.

 

csimpson@thenational.ae

Technology of first ascent, b10