Dubai: A 21-year-old Dubai resident ran 42-km on Saturday in order to raise money for her university education in Europe. In the 38-degree heat, while wearing a facemask, Majeda Khatun ran for seven hours around DIFC. The young woman had a difficult beginning in the slums of Bangladesh, until an Emirates Cabin Crew visited the area on a stopover flight and changed her life forever.
“Maria Conceicao, a Portuguese lady who worked as Emirates Cabin Crew made it her mission to change the lives of those living in the slums in Bangladesh by founding the ‘Maria Cristina Foundation’. It was with her generosity that I was able to be the first girl in my family to graduate high school,” Khatun tells Gulf News.
Since then the young graduate has moved to the UAE where she’s spent the last 10 months interning at a number of companies.
“Coming to Dubai was my dream, I wanted to visit Dubai Mall and see Burj Khalifa. I love the city very much and it’s the first place I’ve ever visited, being here has allowed me to achieve my dreams,” she said.
Since the pandemic, Khatun’s internships were put on hold and that’s when she decided to complete this 42-km marathon to raise awareness about women’s education and to raise funds for her university. She has already received her acceptance at the Politechico Institute of Braganca in Portugal and is taking a gap year to save up for her education.
The marathon was covered on Facebook where a number of people began promptly sending in their donations and cheering her on.
“It was my first time completing a 42-km run and it was really hot outside. At 10-km, I wanted to stop, I couldn’t keep running anymore. But I keep receiving messages and donations from people on Facebook and it reminded me of my education that kept me going,” says Khatun, “I want to thank the people that believed in me and supported me with their messages and their donations. They all became part of my journey and they want to see me fulfil my dreams.”
Khatun aspires to motivate and empower women from her hometown, “Women in my community are not given the value they deserve. Marriage is thought of as the priority and not their education. I want to be a role model to the girls back in the slums of Dhaka and show them that they can achieve so much.”