x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

UAE fundraiser’s goal is to scale Mount Kilimanjaro

Dubai resident Manav Fernandez is on a Dh100,000 fundraising mission to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in September with the 'Walk This Way' initiative.

DUBAI // Last month Harmony House launched its second site,  just a few metres away from the first, to look after 200 more children. But the shelter needs financial support to continue its expansion.

Manav Fernandez, an Indian expatriate in Dubai, hopes to help. The father of two is on a Dh100,000 fundraising mission to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in September.

Originally from Delhi, Mr Fernandez believes it is often easy for expatriates living a comfortable life in Dubai to lose sight of their values. So for his 40th birthday, he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his eldest son, Nirvana, to raise funds. Two years ago, Nirvana made the climb to raise funds for the first shelter.

“It’s very important for each and every individual, especially those of us who are privileged, healthy and have good jobs, to understand that there are a lot of people out there who don’t have anything,” Mr Fernandez said.

His biggest fear is not the nearly 6,000-metre climb, which will consume eight hours a day for six days, but that the initiative will not find its momentum.

“It would be a shame,” he said. “There’s a lot of wealth in the city, you just have to go out one night to a fancy restaurant and see how people literally throw money down the tube.”

Although Mr Fernandez, an operations director, is happy to be living with the safety and security the UAE provides, he said that everyone needs a reality check now and then.

“Of course as a parent we always want the best for our children,” he said. “But it’s also important for them to touch base with reality and understand that they are special and this is not normal.

“These underprivileged kids really need help and we need the support to keep this going,” he said. “A small amount from our wages every month doesn’t hurt anyone, but that money, when it translates to these children, makes a massive difference.”


To donate money to the "Walk This Way" initiative and the development of Harmony House's second shelter visit: www.walkthisway.in or www.harmonyhouseindia.org

Track Mr Fernandez's progress on Twitter and Facebook: @ManavFernandez and https://www.facebook.com/walkthisway.in