A nine-year old Dubai girl has walked the height of the Burj Khalifa up her home staircase to raise money for charity and combatting the coronavirus pandemic.
Saarah Khan, nine, posted about her challenge online and put out the call to raise money for the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontiéres – MSF) UAE COVID-19 Relief Fund by climbing 828 meters, the height of the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
“In these unusual times, I believe that we can still make a difference from home by raising money to help charities who are supporting people suffering due to the coronavirus,” said Saarah.
“I was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore who raised over 30 millions pounds in the UK to support the UK NHS. At the age of 100 he completed 100 laps of his garden to raise this incredible sum,” she added.
Saarah went on to complete the challenge in 63 minutes, and thanked her supporters in an update to her charity page. As of Sunday, the campaign has raised over 13,000 dirhams ($3,500) with six days remaining on her YallaGive page.
Saarah indicated the challenge was harder than she expected, noting she “may have slightly underestimated my level of fitness!”
“I usually play a lot of netball, but having been at home for the last few months, I have not been able to do as much exercise as I would have hoped. So I was running out of breath and getting stomach cramps during the challenge,” she added.
Saarah’s efforts to raise money for MSF, which is working to support those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, follow her sister, Aaminah, 11.
With Saarah climbing the Burj Khalifa, Aaminah has taken to reviewing children’s books online and teaching viewers how to bake or make objects related to the story under review.
“Throughout lockdown many children will be feeling worried and anxious about the current situation and I hope that my blog will provide a welcome distraction to them from the crisis … For me, frequently posting on my blog has been one of my favorite activities whilst stuck indoors. It has been very rewarding to see how many people have enjoyed reading the content I have created,” Aaminah said.
In April, another Dubai youngster, 12-year-old Chloe Andrews, swam the length of the English Channel in her swimming pool to raise money for MSF. Andrews told Al Arabiya English her efforts were also inspired by UK army veteran Captain Moore.
“It was definitely difficult. It was probably more difficult than I thought it was going to be,” said Andrews, whose father had to construct a cover of umbrellas and sheets to avoid her being burned by the Dubai sun.
The Burj Khalifa featured recently in a large charity drive to raise money for food for UAE residents earlier this month.
The tower become a glowing charity box, with each of the building’s 1.2 million external lights sold for 10 dirhams, enough to buy one meal. As donations came in, the tower ‘filled up,’ and people could also bid to claim the light at the very top.
As the region’s tourism and business hub with the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Many people have lost jobs or had incomes reduced. Tens of thousands of migrant workers have registered to be repatriated.