Emirates NBD staff successfully complete Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge

Emirates NBD staff successfully complete Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge

3 Min | 04 August 2013
Emirates NBD staff successfully complete Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge
  • 12 UAE Nationals part of 50-member staff group from Emirates NBD
  • Six UAE National women successfully conquer Gilman's Point at 5,681 metres
Dubai, August 04, 2013: UAE National women have proved time and again that they are equal to their male counterparts in every way, and the recent Mount Kilimanjaro challenge undertaken by Emirates NBD staff was yet another opportunity to highlight this message. Among the 50 Emirates NBD Group staff who took on the challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Kilimanjaro

National Park, Tanzania, there were 12 UAE Nationals, of whom eight were women. Six of the UAE National women also successfully made it to Gilman's Point, the first highpoint of the climb at 5,681 metres.

A dormant volcanic mountain, Kilimanjaro comprises of three volcanic cones – Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira - and is the highest mountain in Tanzania. Towering 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level, the Uhuru Peak/ Kibo Peak on Mt Kilimanjaro has also been officially declared as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

"As part of Emirates NBD's 50th anniversary celebrations this year, we were interested to execute an employee-focused activity that would bring our staff together, while at the same time achieving our strategic objectives of benefiting the community," said Husam Al Sayed, General Manager – Human Resources, Emirates NBD, speaking on behalf of the team. "The Kilimanjaro challenge proved to be the ideal venture, since it brought together a group of diverse people from across various divisions at the bank, who worked together as a team, often in gruelling physical conditions, to reach the summit. What encouraged us to keep our spirits up amidst the freezing temperatures was the thought that our hardships would eventually benefit underprivileged children."

Organised alongside Dubai-based charity Gulf for Good, the Kilimanjaro challenge was part of a series of activities in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Emirates NBD's establishment as the first national bank in the UAE. The challenge also saw the group of 21 women and 29 men from Emirates NBD climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world to raise AED 400,000 for a children's charity in Tanzania. Participants hailed from over 20 nationalities at the bank, with the largest representation being from the UAE, India, Britain, South Africa and the Philippines.

The 50-staff members undertaking the journey were divided into two groups of 25, and each group carried the UAE flag and an
Emirates NBD banner with the Dubai Expo 2020 logo. The first group departed on June 21st, while the second group followed a week later on June 28th, each having five days to complete the trek. The 20 people who made it to Uhuru - the summit of the mountain at 5,895 metres - comprised six women and 14 men including Zakki Essa Mohd Ali Kazim, a UAE National.

"There is nothing like a harsh journey to bring out the best in people," said Maryam Bahlooq, Head of HR Business Partnership, Human Resources,
Emirates NBD. "The most interesting aspect of the Kilimanjaro challenge was the deep rooted camaraderie that was developed among the team members. When you are battling it out in harsh conditions, the various divisions of nationality and language are the last things on your mind. All you see is another human being like yourself struggling against the odds and you are united against the challenges of nature. It has been an amazing experience."

This diverse group of adventure enthusiasts spanned the various divisions of Emirates NBD Group and included employees from senior management, executives and junior staff. They were intent on raising money to support "Amani," a well-known Tanzanian children's charity. In the last few years, "Amani," which means peace in Swahili, has rescued hundreds of children from the streets, saving them from a variety of dangers including malnutrition and abuse. The charity provides the homeless children with food, education, counselling and medical care, with the aim of reuniting them with their extended families wherever possible.

The team underwent rigorous training and fitness programmes ahead of the climb which included beach hikes, climbing Jebel Hafeet and snow climbing practice at Ski Dubai, organised by Gulf for Good. Gulf for Good is a Dubai based charity founded in 2001 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, which specialises in organising exciting adventure challenges around the world to raise money for handpicked charities in the area in which the challenge takes place.

Emirates NBD staff taking part in the climb also kept a live update of the challenge through various social media channels including
Emirates NBD's Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as blogs, sharing videos and photos of the journey as it happened.

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