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September 4, 2015

Villagers to pay homage to British-Pakistani trekker

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September 4, 2015

MUSCAT: The body of a British-Pakistani banking professional, who founded a charity for children in remote northern Pakistan, has been found in an Omani wadi.
Bushra Farooqui, 42, died while trekking in Wadi Sameeni near Buraimi in Oman, with 11 others, all of whom were rescued on Saturday.
Ms Farooqi’s body was found by Omani police helicopters the following day.
Hundreds of children and parents in Sadpara mountain village of Baltistan will pay tribute to the woman they looked up to as their mother.
Villagers of Sadpara in the Baltistan region will gather to pray for and mourn Ms Farooqui. “I cried when I got messages that she had died. She was like family,” said Ghulam Mohammad, general manager of the Inspire Initiative she founded to encourage education in Baltistan’s remote northern valleys.
“To the children and the people of this area she was just like a mother. She loved the children and wanted to explore the area more. She also loved the mountains.
“She told me the children are hard working and they can do a lot for this place if educated. There are not too many people like her in this world.”
Ms Farooqui was also involved in the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Passionate about climbing, she frequently trekked the Himalayan and Karakorum ranges.
She had climbed to the K-2 base camp in Baltistan, Everest Base camp, Kilimanjaro and Turkey’s Mount Ararat.
Ms Farooqui leaves behind her parents, five sisters and a brother. “She touched the lives of people not just in her home country Pakistan, but in London and Dubai,” said her brother Sohaib.
“She was energetic, enthusiastic. She lived for others, not just for herself.
“Mountaineering was the love of her life and it was her first love that drew her to the children of Baltistan. It was not just girls’ education but children’s education she wanted to take forward.”
Ms Farooqui met Mr. Mohammad in 2009 in

Cambridge, UK, during a programme for young Muslim leaders. She visited Baltistan with a trekking group, carrying with her stationery for the children.
“She quickly understood the culture that families did not send girls to school so only boys were studying. She wanted to change this,” Mr. Mohammad said.
Raising money with friends from the UK, she helped to fund teaching for 60 girls at the boys’ primary school in Sidri village in Baltistan, 100 kilometers from the nearest town, Skardu, where Mr. Mohammad lives. The money she raised supports 360 girls in different villages.
The 140 children in Sadpara, for whom she organised teachers and school supplies, are part of “Inspire – for the Love of the Mountains”, the charity she registered last year.
Ms Farooqui was keen to build two more rooms for the Sadpara pupils and to reach other isolated villages.
“She worked hard for the poor and wanted to bring tourists here to support the children,” said Mr. Mohammad, who last spoke to Ms Farooqui on August 21 when she urged him to begin building. “I’m a volunteer but I know her mission must continue so she will live forever.”

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