Artic survival expert Eric Esdale (far left) interacts with pupils at the American School of Dubai. From left to right, Mustafa and Hamza Chaudhry, Mansour Mekan and Benjamin Poletti during their pre-departure meeting for the 120km snowshoeing expedition. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: Four boys are all set to brave the freezing arctic weather to help raise funds for destitute workers.

Snowshoeing across a 120km stretch of icy wilderness over eight days, in temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees, they will put their endurance skills to test to reach one goal — raising Dh500,000 for charity.

The boys, Hamza Chaudhry, Mustafa Chaudhry, Ben Polletti and Mansour Mekan — pupils of the American school of Dubai — will embark on their expedition during their spring break in three weeks.

The money they raise will be donated to Adopt a Camp — a charity run by Dubai-based resident Saher Shaikh — which aims to raise funds for desperately needed supplies for thousands of workers who have been abandoned by bankrupt construction companies.


All four boys are members of the Boys Scouts troop at their school. The initiative was conceptualised by Shaikh who suggested the idea at a Boys Scouts' honouring event.

"We are hoping that people will pledge Dh1 per kilometre for a maximum of 120 kilometres that we are attempting to snowshoe," 12-year-old Mustafa said.

"I am excited and a bit nervous at the same time about the trip," he added.

His twin brother Hamza added: "We will only collect what we would have earned after the hike, depending on the number of kilometres we actually manage to cover on snowshoes."

The group urged residents to make pledges because they wanted to earn them based on the distance covered.

"The only snow-experience I've had is at Ski Dubai. But I look forward to the trip because it's for a good cause," Mansour, a grade nine pupil said.

The trail they are attempting to cover is located at the northern tip of Sweden, 200 kilometres within the Arctic Circle.

Ben, a grade seven pupil, said that he is very excited about the trip and was motivated by the noble cause.


"We are inspired with every new pledge we receive," he said.

Helping the team organise the fund-raising are their fathers. Businessman Salman Chaudhry, who will accompany his twins Mustafa and Hamza, is a senior executive at British Petroleum.

Jim Poletti will accompany his son Ben, while Moazzam Mekan — an IFC-World Bank executive — will support his son Mansour.

"Instead of looking for sponsorship from corporate houses, the expedition teams wanted it to be a community initiative because the issue of abandoned workers is a community issue," Chaudhry said.

If about 4,200 residents pledge Dh1 for each kilometre covered, the group will be able to reach their target of Dh500,000.

So far, between friends and family the team has garnered 60 pledges, with many of them pledging more than the minimum amount of Dh1/km.

How To contribute

To make a pledge, send an SMS to 050 7454612 or e-mail your name and the amount you wish to pledge to niazalam@eim.ae