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Zahra Rose - aiming high.

Zahra Rose – aiming high.

Hastings women take on Everest challenge

Zahra Rose Alazaibi, along with her friend Natalie Hassan, is shortly off to climb Everest in a sponsored expedition on behalf of the Rohingya refugees. Nick Terdre reports.

The two young women were born and bred in Hastings and are proud of their South-East heritage. Zahra now spends most of her time in London, where she runs a social media marketing agency.

The Everest challenge does not involve climbing to the peak but to the base camp. That in itself is a formidable proposition, involving a 12-day trek there and back – the base camp is 5,380 metres above sea level, just short of the height of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, Zahra points out.

zahra 300They will be leaving for Nepal on 11 December and don’t expect to be back in the UK until 28 December.

“Climbing has always been a passion of mine and a challenge which I enjoy setting myself up for,” says Zahra, who picked up the bug in primary school and climbed her first mountain, Snowden, aged 12. Since then she has added Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Mount Toubkal in Morocco to the list of peaks she has scaled.

She has been in training for the Everest challenge since March, tackling one mountain a month as well as going on regular hikes in East Sussex and doing various cardio work-outs. More than £1,000 of her own money has gone into buying the correct gear for the extreme conditions of the Himalayas.

Humanitarian crisis

The plight of the Rohingya refugees, driven from their homes in Myanmar by the military, many of them killed in the process, is one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time – and least spoken about – Zahra says.

The two women are not alone in taking on the Everest challenge to raise funds for the Rohingya: altogether there are 35 participants, 18 of them women. A camera man and a photographer will record the expedition, which has also attracted the interest of the BBC.

“Our aim is to raise £250,000 collectively,” says Zahra. “So far we have reached £171,938.48.”

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The expedition is not without risks – only recently a party of nine climbers and guides lost their lives in a devastating snowstorm on nearby Mount Gurja. However Zahra is not fazed.

“I live my life as a strong believer in fate,” she says.  ”If anything is due to happen, it’ll happen regardless of my fears or precautions and regardless of my plans. Weather is very unpredictable, however, the circumstances of the people who need our help are not.”

So far Zahra has raised £5,538 of her target of £7,500 before departing for Nepal, while Natalie has a target of £4,500.

Go here to find out more or to donate to Zahra’s fund.

Posted 14:03 Monday, Oct 29, 2018 In: Hastings People

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