Dana Al Anzy has become the first Qatari woman to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.
Al Anzy, a student of Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), was part of a 12-member team of young Qataris and expats, including three guides, who worked to raise money for the ‘Elevate to Educate’ expedition to build and renovate schools in Gaza through Reach Out to Asia (ROTA).
The expedition was organised by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, who last year became the first Qatari to climb Mount Everest.
When she joined the team, Al Anzy was asked to commit to raising a minimum of QR50,000 and she rose over QR200,000. “It was a competition between the climbers to see who would raise the highest amount for our cause. My target was QR200,000 but I had no clue how I would raise it. I crossed the target, and the lesson I learned is set your goals high even if they seem unachievable,” she said.
Al Anzy decided to approach local schools for fund-raising. “I went to schools in Doha, I knew capacity was there. Youth are passionate about the cause, and I reached out to them. I told each school that I would carry their flag to the summit, and they were in.”
Through bake and rose sales, festivals, and fundraisers for each school, Al Anzy mobilised young people, school administrators, friends and family from Aljazeera Academy Girls, Qatar Academy and Qatar International School, each raising over QR50,000.
Corporate sponsorship included donations from Qatar National Bank and Qatar Financial Center. But fundraisers were not the only thing she had to do. “I joined a gym two months before our trip. We also practised in fire exit at the Torch building in Aspire, which has 51 floors and over 1,000 steps. The fire exit has low levels of oxygen which was good preparation for the climb.”
Despite preparations, Al Anzy’s climb was not free from challenges. “I twisted my wrist on the second day, endured knee pain, and had breathing problems that led to fainting, requiring oxygen at 4,600 meters. However, she never regretted any step of her climb. “Nothing is unachievable. Just because sometimes we feel marginalised, or limited by others, that doesn’t mean we can’t prove ourselves. Why did I decide to do something so crazy? It’s mostly because some people said I was not capable. So I wanted to prove them wrong. I did. Now we have Qatari women conquering peaks for such noble causes, too.”
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