Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Climbers with a Cause: Mother and Daughter Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro

Climbers with a Cause: Mother and Daughter Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro
By Mona Shahab
We chatted with Heidi Alaudeen Alaskary, a speech-language pathologist based in Riyadh, who returned from the challenging trip to Kilimanjaro with inspirational lessons.
What do you do when you're not climbing mountains?
I am a speech language pathologist. Currently directing an employment program for the employment of persons with disabilities, and I’m an all-around disability advocate. 
What made you decide to join this climb?
I was fortunate to be raised by amazing parents who always provided my sisters and I with priceless opportunities and experiences while growing up. It was the experiences that made me who I am today, and they have formed the basis for my most precious memories. Hence, I firmly believe in providing my own children with enriching experiences more than material things. My daughter climbing Kilimanjaro – in my view – was a great sweet 16 present, and an opportunity for us both to do something challenging together. It was also an opportunity to support an amazing cause. Providing a safe and comfortable “normalized” environment for other children to bond and connect with their parents, and form their own positive experiences.
Are you a beginner or advanced climber?
Definitely a beginner 
What was the experience like for you? What's the most memorable part of the climb? And likewise, what was the hardest?
It was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It was also one of those singularly amazing life changing experiences. There were so many memorable parts; however, if I had to choose one it would be bonding with so many amazing and genuine individuals in such a short period of time. In terms of the hardest part physically, as I faced personal challenges on a daily basis, was coordinating my breathing and my racing heartbeat. I never knew my heart could beat so fast at rest. Psychologically, it was facing my demons (heights) and pushing my limits. But everyday you learned something new, overcame the hardships and become stronger for it. It is true: What does not kill you, makes you stronger. And that is a true gift from Allah. 
Are there any lessons you learned on the mountain?
What I learned from climbing a Kilimanjaro:

1. I have always been comfortable with dying, and Kili reinforced that. It also reinforced that family is the singularly most important thing in this world, and they really are who you think about in the end.

2. We take so much for granted:

a. Child education.

b. Shelter – our homes and daily comforts.

c. Access to healthcare.

3. There is no better feeling in the world than to see your child surpass you. I did not make to Ughuru, only to Stella. My daughter made it all the way, and I could not be prouder.

4. Enjoy every part of the journey for what it is, because no experience will last long. Life is a series of changing environments, and each section teaches you something that prepares you for the next one.

5. To achieve anything you must work extremely hard because nothing comes easy.

6. You can function with no higher brain power.

7. What you need to survive is, surprisingly, very little.

8. Sunscreen is not just for the face. Do not forget your hands, ears and neck.

9. Water is a precious and amazing gift. Alhamdiulillah.

10. God sends you angels in the most unexpected forms. Shout out to Mona Ayubu Elias, Tito Omar and Ohoud.

11. There are genuinely good and kind people in this world. I’m incredibly grateful to my guides.

12. Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you.

What advice would you give to people who are not super fit or haven't been active but would like to be?
Psychological commitment is the first and most important step. After that, give yourself enough time to start training gradually and build up. The physical aspect is not the hardest or most daunting part. It is what you cannot predict or plan for that you need to be mentally prepared for.
You can follow Heidi Al Askary on @heidialaskary
Heidi Al-Askary’s daughter Yasmeen Dabbagh, a student who turned 16 on the mountain, also shares with us her experience.
What made you decide to join this climb?
The purpose behind the climb amazed me and really inspired me to help the cause in anyway I can.
Are you a beginner or advanced climber?
What was the experience like for you? What's the most memorable part of the climb? And likewise, what was the hardest?
Words would not be able to do justice. The experience was amazing, we had our ups and downs but we got through it. Summit night will definitely not be forgotten.
Are there any lessons you learned on the mountain?
The mountain taught me that to accomplish your goals in life you will go through ups and downs, but eventually you will get there. It’s all in your mind. You control whether or not you can push yourself more to get to what you want, resisting all the thoughts of going back.
What advice would you give to people who are not super fit or haven't been active but would like to be?
TRAIN! TRAIN! TRAIN! You need to build stamina and endurance. You can do it with the right amount of training and your brainpower.
You can follow Yasmeen Dabbagh on @yasmeendabbagh
About the Empowerment HubAbout MawadahHow to donate

The Empowerment Hub’s mission is to revolutionize what women feed their minds and bodies. They aim to strengthen women’s health and fitness awareness in the Kingdom by creating active, social, and educational events. All proceeds goes to different non-profit organizations and charities in Saudi…Fitness4aCause!

Contact info

  • Snapchat: @empowermenthub
  • E-mail: 

Mawaddah Women Charity based in Saudi Arabia, work closely with children of divorcees, and have taken it upon them to create a safety haven for children of divorcees. Not too long ago, visiting hours took place at police stations. Today, Mawaddah is the legal hub for visits. “Beit Mawaddah” aka “Mawaddah Home” is a safety haven where visiting hours take place; drop offs, pick-ups and more. It’s every child’s right to feel safe with their parent/caregiver, and it’s every parent’s right to know that their child is safe during their absence.

IBAN: SA1905000068201075761000

Toll free: 920011432

Mobile: 0555023371

Landline: 0114542301 ext.31

Fax: 0114534662

Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdullatif Street, Al Mursalat, Riyadh , Saudi Arabia

Read about more Climbers with a Cause:

Fatima Batook | Lynne Fleifel | Aida Adnan | Wafa Alkhayal | Ghadah Nasser



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