Portuguese humanitarian Maria Conceição was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ by GQ Magazine Portugal. recognized for her philanthropic services and sports achievements. In the past, the trendy men’s lifestyle publication, has award the title most exclusively to the ‘Man of the Year’.
In 2005, Maria Conceição founded the ‘Maria Cristina Foundation’, named after her adoptive mother, dedicated to helping underprivileged children in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladeshi. Over the past nine years the foundation has helped hundreds of children and their families.
Based in Dubai, the nonprofit organization currently provides education to over 200 underprivileged children and 50 adult students. The program also provides rent, transportation, food, accommodation, medical supplies, toiletries and hygiene supplies for families and their children.
Maria Conceição was inspired to launch her project after she witnessed the extreme poverty in Bangladesh, while working as a flight attendant for an Emirates airline.
In her effort to fundraise for her humanitarian project, in recent years Maria Conceição has called the attention of donors by challenging herself as a sportswoman, including becoming the first Portuguese woman to climb Mount Everest; holding three records as a marathon runner; and establishing six Guinness World Records.
Most recently, she attempted to swim the English Channel but was forced to abandon her bid due to overpowering tidal currents.
Among her current sponsors are corporate organizations, such as Etihad Airways, Right Bite, NAMA, GEMS Education, Centre for Musical Arts, Full Potential UK, Raahi Group and Option 1 Event Services, UAE, as well as private individuals Dr. Jocelyn Charest, Nabil Dalle, Joe George and Safiya Burnell. For online donations to the foundation, click here.