Emirati embarks on 2,000-km walk to Makkah

The Emirati foot-soldier (Supplied)

A 24-year-old Emirati on Monday embarked on a 2,000-kilometre walk from the UAE to the Holy City of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, with an aim of raising money for children with special needs.

Adventurer and philanthropist Jalal Majid bin Thaniah, who works in the HR department of DP World, UAE Region, will walk from Al Ruwais in Abu Dhabi and is expected to reach the Holly City in a month, said a press statement.

DP World, employer of Jamal, is supporting him in his mission by providing him with funds for supplies, equipment and logistics needed to help him realise his goal. A vehicle with supplies will tail him as he progresses from the UAE to Saudi Arabia and assist him with essentials at regular intervals.

Bin Thaniah is no stranger to physically challenging missions. He caught the nation’s attention in 2007, when at the age of 20 he became the first person to complete a 600 km journey across the UAE. His efforts helped him raise Dh100,000 for the Dubai Autism Centre. In 2008, he climbed around 90,000 steps and 2,775 floors of Dubai’s famous skyscrapers in 12 days for Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre (RPTC).

Also in 2009, he undertook a 550 km journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Hamim and Liwa, before trekking through the Empty Quarter (Rubh Al Khali) desert and ending at Umm Al Husn and raised funds for the Senses Centre.

Jalal Majid bin Thaniah, said: “Raising awareness for the plight of children with special needs is a cause that is very close to my heart. This walk is symbolic as it signifies the alienation and solitude often felt by children with special needs. I hope to prompt the community into action and raise funds that will help these children have a better future.”