18.5 C
Doha
Friday, February 26, 2021

Qatari Kilimanjaro climber: We’re past gender segregation

-

Mount Kilimanjaro climbers
Mount Kilimanjaro climbers

Six women made history this month after becoming the first female Qataris to successfully summit the world’s tallest free-standing mountain in a bid to raise money for Gaza.

They and six other Qatari and expat male climbers raised some QR2 million during the campaign to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, money that will go toward Gaza’s education system under Reach out to Asia (ROTA).

During a press conference yesterday, the climbers’ discussed their experiences, focusing on the challenges they faced and what the women in particular hoped people would take away from their accomplishment.

The team also included two assistants and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, who was the first Qatari to climb and raise the country’s flag at Mount Everest’s peak and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice.

The climbers’ names are: Maryam Al Thani, Asma Al Thani, Noor Al Thani, Bashaer Al Mulla, Dana Al-Anzy, Aisha Al-Naama, Mohammed Al-Naama, Yacoub Alyacoub, Nasser Bin Marzook, Bader Elmadani, Mohammed Fakhro and Yazan Abughaida.

Female empowerment

Sheikh “Moe” Al Thani, who led the climb, closed his speech by posing a question to the female Qatari climbers, saying:

“Girls, what do you have to say to other Qatari girls to help push and motivate them to do something like this?”

Climber Dana Al-Anzy, a 19 year-old student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and member of ROTA’s Youth Advisory board, responded on behalf of the women, saying:

“The fact that we’re the first Qatari females says a lot about our expectations. The support really kept us going. There was support from society that we were unaware of and it empowered us and we (climbers) all empowered each other.

Yes, we did have people who discouraged us too and we did suffer from that. We also suffered physically and mentally. It was tough. But it was the real support we had and our determination that kept us going.”

The ROTA-backed climb took place some two months after Al Thani led seven Qataris – three women and four men – in a charity endeavor in Brazil.

Backed by Vodafone-Qatar, the seven youths trekked through the Amazon before arriving at the remote village of Ararinha to rebuild a school.

However, footage of the girls not wearing the traditional abaya and headscarf while abroad angered many locals. Some also expressed upset at the idea of a mixed-gender trip.

Though many residents continued to show their support for the girls, the ensuing online cultural debate caused such a stir that Vodafone abruptly withdrew its support halfway through the effort.

However, the company has said that it would continue to fund the team under contractual obligation.

Touching upon the ongoing community debate about culture and local identity, Mt. Kilimanjaro climber Al-Anzy said yesterday:

“I don’t believe in male and female segregation. It’s about success and support. I don’t believe in female to female favoritism either. We’ve passed that. It’s not necessary. All of us made it, six by six, together. No one turned back. We had one focus only — the summit. I am so proud of all of us and hopefully, you will see a lot more of us in the future.”

Prior to the climb, Al-Anzy was reported by the Peninsula as saying she hoped her involvement would “motivate other women to pursue their dreams and ambitions, regardless of the obstacles and battles they face in our society.”

“I want to promote the culture of social responsibility across borders and allow people’s horizons to expand beyond the limits of what surrounds them,” she added.

Struggles

Once the team reached the top, Al-Anzy posted an Instagram message explaining some of the challenges she and her teammates faced during the five-day climb.

She added that public support had kept her going despite twisting her wrist and being oxygenated at 4,600 meters after finding it hard to breathe.

Also yesterday, fellow climber 26 year-old Mohammed Fakhro explained that dealing with the altitude was much tougher than the team imagined:

“It was very difficult to breathe with the altitude. Every 12 hours we had to keep taking medication to help us adapt, but that medication itself has side-effects, mostly headaches and dehydration if you don’t drink enough water. Regardless, we climbed six to seven hours a day over the five-day climb to the top. When we reached the top it was -15C.”

While enthusiasm was high with hundreds of locals wanting to sign up for the charity endeavor, experienced climber Al Thani said that none of the volunteers had climbing or fundraising experience – nor did they know what they were getting themselves into.

“You should have seen the number of bags at the airport. People were thinking they were going to live in Tanzania, not climb it,” Al Thani joked.

With just two and a half months before their flight, the selected team trained five to six times a week, mainly at Aspire, and creativity sessions were held in order to think of ways to fundraise.

This particular challenge was the first time Al Thani had organized a group campaign for charity.

Throughout the 5,895 meter (19,341 feet) climb, everyone got out of their comfort zones and everyone suffered, Al Thani said.

One climber was afraid of heights, one was throwing up the whole way up to the summit and one had frostbite.

Some also struggled as they were physically slower than their teammates, but everyone kept going, according to Al Thani, who said:

“The team kept going not only because they were climbing for themselves or for our country, but for something greater. They were climbing for Palestine. For Gaza. Those kids are going to get a better education.”

Thoughts?

12 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Good for them that the small minded bigots are of no consequence to them, they set out to achieve something and did it with style. Those oppressors of women sat at home and whined like small children rather than congratulating them for their achievements.

I hope many have learned a lesson for this episode, although Vodafone should be ashamed of their attitude and in giving in to the intorelant for the sake of money. Disgusting.

I look forward to hearing more success stories like this and success for me would be to focus on their achievements, not what they were wearing.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

Well done! This was a fantastic feat, and all those involved should be extremely proud of themselves.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Well done ladies! And well done to Sheikh Moe for setting a great example to other males.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Brilliant!

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

Well done to all of them. To those who complained about this and the Amazon adventure, I say to you that the writing is on the wall for you. Your time has come and gone. Welcome to the new world.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Fantastic. Well done to the whole team but especially the women who have braved not only extreme conditions but extreme attitudes.
Chapeau!

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Well done to them all. The lesson for those who dare to hear is that only good has come out of this achievement and it has strengthened the Qatari nation.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

Spot On !! ‘ “I don’t believe in male and female segregation. It’s about success and support. I don’t believe in female to female favoritism either. We’ve passed that. It’s not necessary.’ Nothing else needs to be said.

Ibrahim
Ibrahim
6 years ago

As a Qatari man, I am very proud of these women. They represent me and every Qatari who wants to see his/her nation progress and elevate. Thank you for breaking the stereotypes and for climbing for this great and honorable cause. Please never listen to the people who wants to bring you down just because of your gender. You women are the pride nation and an equal partner in its success and future.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim

Here here. Well said.

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim

Wow @disqus_UPtI53JD5e:disqus I stand with you brotha. I’m not Qatari but I revile in your pride and share the excitement of the historic occasion.

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago

This is a Beautiful thing. I’m not even Qatari but I am so proud of them! Good job ladies!

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Student scammed for QR 6,000 while ordering pizza online

0
With scam attacks on the rise, it's essential to protect yourself from fraudsters.  A Qatar University student who ordered a pizza worth QR 31 was...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.