ABU DHABI, 16th March, 2018 (WAM) — Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, attended on Thursday at Manarat Al Saadiyat the honouring ceremony of 43 women, who succeeded in completing the 4th edition of the “Women’s Heritage Walk”.
The annual walk, a six-day desert adventure that celebrates the culture and heritage of the UAE and the women who helped shape this great nation, is a recreation of an Emirati migratory trip between the two cities that took place multiple times a year, decades ago. The ceremony honoured the group, representing 18 nationalities, including 11 UAE nationals, for completing a 125-kilometre desert journey from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi on March 13th, 2018.
The journey began on International Women’s Day 2018 with a private tour of the Al Ain Oasis by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, which gave participants an insight into the city and its history. They began their trek in the early morning hours of Friday, March 9th, from Al Bada Hotel & Resort in Al Ain.
The group began walking before sunrise every day to complete an average of 25 kilometres daily in an effort to reach their final goal of 125 kilometres on Tuesday. They trained for two months prior to the trip with two weekly desert hikes led by outdoor adventure group UAE Trekkers. Throughout the trip, a fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers and desert-trained drivers supported the participants, so that they could take a break if needed. Abu Dhabi Police also escorted the women with a sand equipped ambulance and paramedic team for all five days in the desert to ensure the safety of all involved.
In the evenings, they enjoyed cultural activities that highlighted the UAE’s heritage and this year’s theme of the Year of Zayed. “Honouring the past was one of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s values. In the Year of Zayed, the Women’s Heritage Walk worked to bring attention to those values in an effort to preserve and celebrate our identity, traditions, and history,” said Asma Al Mutawa, Women’s Heritage Walk partner.
The 33-year-old Emirati mother of two Fatima Omar said, “This experience surprised me and created a battle within myself between pushing on and giving up. The best thing about it has been meeting the most wonderful people, as challenges such as this show people as they truly are. I experienced so much care, inspiration, and friendship from this group of incredible women.”
The walk was established in 2015 and over 150 women have completed the journey so far. “The Women’s Heritage Walk has grown tremendously over the last four years, and I am proud of this tribe of ‘sand sisters’ and all they have accomplished. None of this would be possible, however, without the support of organisations and companies from within the community that believe in our journey and share our values of highlighting culture and heritage, encouraging women, improving health and wellness, and community building,” said Jody Ballard, founder of the walk.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “This journey is an integral part of the heritage of the UAE and a symbolic recreation, preserves the tradition and allows an opportunity for women from all walks of life to get a glimpse of the crucial role Emirati women play in UAE society. DCT Abu Dhabi is proud to support such initiatives as it aligns with our mandate to collect, safeguard, and document the intangible cultural heritage and history of the citizens of Abu Dhabi.”