Gulf for Good fundraiser

UAE charity Gulf for Good are organising their next challenge. Elest Ali looks at what the Wild Wall 2012 will involve and what it will fund Discuss this article

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So it’s a new year, new stuff, new challenges, life goes on at its miserable monotonous pace – that sort of thing. And there is nothing you can do to change any of it, right? Wrong! You can get yourself to the top of the world (well, one of the highest points at least) and feel like an absolute hero. We’re talking about a spring charity adventure challenge in China. If you’re one of those adrenaline junkies, or even just a semi-fit do-gooder who loves to travel and meet new people, this is just the thing for you. Hell, you don’t even have to be semi-fit, just healthy and willing to put in some training. Read on for the ‘who?’, ‘how?’ and ‘why should I get off my couch, what gives?’

Gulf for Good are the people that will make it all happen if you sign up. They’re a Dubai and UK registered charity that’s out to change lives in more ways than one. The aim of the game is twofold: Firstly, this is about raising money for children’s hospitals, schools and orphanages worldwide. Secondly, it’s about getting diverse groups of adventure-minded people together to give them an experience of a lifetime. To date, Gulf for Good has organized 37 such challenges across some of the most exotic locations in the world. From Everest base camps to the wilds of Borneo, from trekking the alternative Inca trail to climbing Kilimanjaro – they’ve set participants on some unforgettable journeys.

So what awaits in China? The Wild Wall Challenge will be six days of hiking along the most spectacular sections of China’s Great Wall. Imagine walking through vast valleys and quiet little villages one day, and then hiking through mountainous plains and ancient tombs the next. The route will involve gently undulating sections, but also some steep and rocky terrain which will require scrambling to reach the most impressive parts of the Great Wall, and catch the most breath taking views.

If it’s all set to kick off in May 2012, why are we making a fuss about it now? First of all, the quota is for 25 people, and with folks signing up already, they’re fast running out of spaces. And then there is the preparation part. You’ll need all the time you can get to raise the minimum sponsorship of Dhs18,000 and put in three months of training. We’re told this will be a real test of fitness and endurance, so you’ll want to raise your stamina. If you haven’t got a gym membership, fret not. Gulf for Good will be running a number of free training sessions in the months before you set off, and the Corniche awaits if you need to start up those morning or evening jogs again.

Finally, aside from the stimulation of setting yourself a huge physical challenge, you have the equally important incentive of children in need to work for. This time around, Gulf for Good’s Wild Wall challenge will be raising funds for the Bethel Foundation. The Hong Kong registered non-profit foundation works with blind and visually impaired orphans in China. They not only care for the children, but also provide them with the education, skills and livelihood opportunities they need in order to lead independent and dignified lives.

‘We hear constantly that the challenges we organise make a huge difference to peoples’ lives,’ says Brian Wilkie, chairman and founder of Gulf for Good. ‘Obviously the recipients of the funds benefit enormously, but doing the challenge itself often turns out to be a life-changing experience for many challengers.’ One of these challengers was Fadi Baaklini, a managing director originally from Lebanon, who took part in the Everest Base Camp Challenge in October. ‘I have never imagined in my life that in such a short 14 days one can make up a family,’ reads his testimonial. ‘While we started as complete strangers, each with a desire to contribute for a good cause as well as to take on a mental and physical challenge, we ended up building lovely friendships and forming a solid unit. We had all left our lives behind us. On these mountains, there was no managing director, sale manager, financial analyst, HR director, architect, school master, dentist, project manager. There was simply a group of genuine people with a common goal of reaching the base camp.’
For more information or to sign up go to www.gulf4good.org or call (04 368 9625).

By Elest Ali
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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