Community, Online Magazine

Climbing for Mawaddah: Saudi Women Summit Kilimanjaro

Profile photo of Jou Pabalate

Jou Pabalate

Regional Editorial Manager at Destination Riyadh

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By Mona Shahab, The Empowerment Hub

Twenty-two incredible women, 5,895 meters of grit and passion.

It’s 3 a.m. on March 23. Nauseous, light headed, exhausted, sleepy, cold, and tired of wiping silent tears with the back of our gloves, 22 hikers place one foot in front of the other. Each footstep represents a brick and each brick represents a smile. Would “mind” out-win “matter?” Only time would tell.

Rewinding the tape somewhat, “I want to climb a mountain!” echoed in The Empowerment Hub’s humble office on a sunny afternoon back in 2015. Mawaddah Women Charity honored us with a visit to discuss potential collaboration, and in the midst of the conversation, one of their board members took us by surprise when she mentioned the magic word “mountain.”

Pic14“It takes a village to raise a child.” We’ve joined forces as a community to help build a happy, friendly and most importantly, safe environment for children of divorcees. 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.

Pic1Finding the bricks to build this safety haven is going to take a little more than one event. Nabni Lahom is a campaign initiated by The Empowerment Hub, which began in Fall 2015 and will come full circle in July. Kilimajaro4Mawaddah is one of many initiatives under Nabni Lahom. If you are interested in finding the bricks to bring Beit Mawaddah to life, hop on the wagon!
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FATIMA BATOOK

Founder of TIMA® Sport Apparel and Studio55

What made you decide to join this climb?
It was always something I wanted to do but wasn’t at the place or time to do it so when this opportunity unfolded itself to me, I couldn’t turn it down! I had the opportunity to achieve a dream for a great cause, which is dear to my heart, and share it with empowering and inspirational women from my homeland!

AIDA ADNAN

Owner & Founder of My Little School

Are there any lessons you learned on the mountain?
You can do anything you set your mind to do! Basically it’s mind over matter.
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WAFA AL KHAYAL

Breast & Endocrine Surgeon

What made you decide to join this climb?
It’s really simple, you turn 40 and say, “I need to climb a mountain so you go and climb a mountain!”
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HEIDI ALAUDEEN AL ASKARY

Speech Pathologist

What's the hardest part of the climb?
I faced personal challenges on a daily basis – physical coordinating my breathing and a racing heartbeat (never knew my heart could beat so fast at rest), facing my psychological demons (heights), pushing my limits – but everyday you learned something new and overcome the hardships and you become stronger for it – it is true what does not kill you makes you stronger and that is a true gift from Allah.
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YASMEEN DABBAGH

(Age: 15, turned 16 on the mountain)

Student and Heidi Al Askary’s Daughter

What did you learn from this experience?
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.
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LYNNE FLEIFEL

Director of Special Projects, Olayan Financing Company

Why join the climb?
I turned 40 and decided to be the fittest in my forties. I ran my first 10K, and wanted to challenge myself further with this climb because I had a feeling it was beyond fitness but I didn’t realize it was going to be the hardest thing I would do in my life. I also believe in the purpose of Bait Mawaddah and wanted to contribute.
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Specific quotes for certain pictures from DropBox:

Here’s to our sponsors and partners who believed in us and the cause. Thank you! A special thank you to:

  • NuYu Fitness, our Denali Sponsors (SR 100,000)
  • Alf Khair, our Ultra-Marathon Sponsor (SR 75,000)
  • Shell, our Marathon Sponsor (SR 50,000)
  • Brightening Tech, our IT Sponsor
  • Omar Samra and the Wild Guanabana family who made a dream come true for many.

– The Empowerment Hub & Kilimanjaro4Mawaddah Team

Pic9“Only on Kili can you touch the clouds, kiss a rock, hug the moon and have a Masai family.” – Rania Zendaki

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“It was a challenging trip. Your biggest competitor is yourself. The challenge wasn’t the physical aspect, but breaking your mental boundaries to push yourself to reach the peak. Reaching the top is great, doing it for Beit Mawaddah is greater.” – J

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Email: info@theempowermenthub.com

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