x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Walkathon a cool idea for orphans

Despite a predicted temperature of 40-degrees celsius on Saturday, three students hope Dubai residents will come out to support their walkathon.

DUBAI // The weatherman may have predicted a 40°C high this Saturday, but three Emirati students are encouraging people to come out for a walk in the sun to support orphanages without air-conditioning.

The "Beat the Heat" walkathon will take place at Safa Park's jogging track at 6.30pm and participants are asked to pay Dh10 will go toward funding refrigerators and air-conditioning units for orphanages and foster homes.

The walkathon was organised by three young Emirati women - Meerah Ketait, 21, Sarah al Qassimi, 22, and Azza al Nuaimi, 21. They are studying for their Bachelors in Marketing at Zayed University's Business College and were to create a promotions campaign for Haier, an electronics company. Instead, the students pitched the idea of using a charity event to raise awareness.

Orphans, they said, lack basic necessities such as air conditioning and refrigerators.

"It's something very simple that we give such a thing," said Ms al Qassimi. The three students planned the walkathon along with Haier, Young Eager Steps (YES), an Emirati-owned non-profit organisation that helps young Emirati youth, and Al Tamkeen Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation, which provides support to orphans.

They aim to raise enough money to supply new equipment to 54 houses.

Aamer Khan, the managing director of Hafet Electrical LLC, the exclusive agents for Haier in the UAE, said: "These three Emirati girls are the most impressive that I've worked with.."

The walkathon idea also fits well with the philosophy of their charity partners, according to Deenah al Hashimi, PR manager at YES.

"YES is different in the sense that we do not just provide monetary help to people in need," said Ms al Hashimi.

Ms al Nuaimi added: "I want people to be aware of this part of the society. Even if with Dh10 you come and walk for 10 minutes and leave, you'll not only change a life, you'll change a home."

There are more details on Twitter (@Beat_Heat).

aalhadad@thenational.ae