Sunday, January 17, 2021

Desert challenge

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Canberra couple Shafeen Mustaq and Monty Feras have been training to walk 250 km for the Simpson Desert Challenge

The Simpson Desert Challenge (25 May to 4 June 2017) is an 11-day adventure that includes eight days of trekking in the completely isolated and harsh environment.
The physical and mental challenges are intended to reflect the daily lives of people the walkers will be fundraising for – young Australians with high care needs. The Brisbane-based charity Youngcare (www.youngcare.com.au) which organises the trek is seeking to fund age-appropriate housing for young people with high care needs who currently live in aged care facilities.
Simpson Desert Challenge.Indian Link
Why did Shafeen and Monty choose such an unconventional way of helping other people?
“We are an unconventional couple and unconventional ways appeal to us!” laughs Shafeen. “Really though, we love the great outdoors, we love travelling and we love challenging ourselves, so physical exertion appealed to us. I also romanticised the notion of a desert trek with comparisons to the Prophet’s travels through the desert and his nights at the cave thinking about life. To walk as a small fragile being in an infinite space and contemplate the universe in an attempt to get closer to God really appealed to me. And lastly, similarly to fasting, taking myself out of the normal comforts of life that I take for granted will help me empathise with those less fortunate and less abled – the recipients of the fundraising.”
Unfortunately, Shafeen has had to pull out only days before the trek, having sustained knee injuries during training. But Monty will continue; his training and experience from when he was in the Bangladesh Army will come in handy to brave the Australian desert.

Simpson Desert Challenge.Indian Link
Shafeen and Monty

Shafeen meanwhile, is continuing her fundraising activities. To make a tax deductable donation visit Monty’s Everyday Hero page: simpsondesertchallenge2017.everydayhero.com/au/monty
Monty will spend eight full days and nights in the desert, exposed to the elements, and climb more than 1000 sand dunes.
“Going to the bathroom in the desert will also be a challenge, and trying to avoid snakes and other creepy crawlies!” says Shafeen. “Despite it being winter, the temperature will get quite high during the day and then drop quite low during the night so that’s a challenge, staying hydrated, warm and cool depending on the time and place.”
Simpson Desert Challenge.Indian Link
23-year-old Shafeen has been highly community-minded since her teens, and has worked with several charities, most notably Probasy, a small NFP which raises funds for the poor and disadvantaged in Bangladesh. She also volunteered for FredHyde.org otherwise known as CO-ID Australia an Australian charity that builds and operates schools in the third world focusing specifically in poverty and natural disaster stricken areas of Bangladesh.
Currently she is a volunteer with a newly formed Canberra-based charity Sitara’s story which is aiming to raise $5,000 by year end to facilitate the delivery of mental health awareness and training to teenage girls in rural schools in Bangladesh by certified psychiatrists. In addition to this, Shafeen contributes regularly to Indian Link, and also manages a YouTube channel called “Muslim women can” where she researches and presents short videos of revered and renowned Muslim women.

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh’s rivalry with her overachieving ‘cousin’, Kamala Harris

  "Growing up I always got compared to my Indian cousins," shares Lilly Singh, reminding us of those unforgettable sibling rivalries we've all experiences at...
Udaya wentworthville

Reopening after being a COVID exposure site

  "We did not have a clue, because the customer was asymtopmatic." Since the news of popular spots Saravanaa Bhavan and Udaya supermarket being COVID exposure...
meeting op nayyar (1)

Why OP Nayyar continues to be this fan’s favourite musician

  I am an ardent admirer of O P Nayyar’s music. Anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Indian film music from...

5 powerful poems by the brilliant Javed Akhtar

  A celebrated lyricist and the recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his poetry, Javed Akhtar's name is synonymous with soul-wrenching, evocative writing.  His...
dog swami video

WATCH: Dog ‘blesses’ devotees outside temple in India

  In a now viral video, a dog stationed outside the Siddhivinayak Temple in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra was spotted shaking hands and 'blessing' devotees as they...