11 July 2016 Maria Conceicao announces her next challenge. 

It has been quite a weekend for the Maria Cristina Foundation! On Saturday, the 20th May Maria finished her 5th #Ironman in 49 days. The #Lanzarote the worlds toughest ironman and one more remains to be completed on the 28th May. On Sunday, the 21st May one of our very first students graduated from high school in #Dubai. It was also the 4th anniversary of Maria summiting Mt #Everest yesterday. The coming week is promising to be just as eventful! Follow us for updates and news. Most importantly, please make a donation to help us continue our vital work: jus

One of our very first students, Shewly, graduates from high school in #Dubai today. What a remarkable journey it has been for this young lady and we are so excited to see what lies ahead for her. She is a wonderful example of how an #education can change a life and how important our work in #Bangladesh is. Congratulations, Shewly! May you always strive higher and higher and never ever give up. We are so proud of you.

Maria is all set for the #Ironman tomorrow. This is her 5th Ironman in 6 weeks ! Maria is doing 6 Ironmans on 6 continents in the shortest time possible to raise funds to educate 127 children in Bangladesh. Please dig deep and give what you can. Every little bit will help and encourage Maria! Thank you!

Maria has now completed 4 out of 6 Ironman challenges. With 2 more to go she is so close to completing this gruelling challenge to raise vital funds to educate children living in the slums of #Dhaka. Maria has proven time and again that these challenges create much needed #momentum and really help raise the funds the Maria Cristina Foundation needs. We have to find a way to help Maria complete this challenge. We now appeal for your help to complete the challenge. Although the expenses for this #challenge are kept as low possible, the costs of logistics for this 6-continent challenge add up. If you know of a business looking for a great CSR cause or an individual willing to help, do let us know. If you or someone you know can donate their sky miles towards Maria's flights it would be an immense help. The next #Ironman will take place on the 20th May in Lanzarote, which is known to be one of the toughest in the world. Please spread the word to help us help the children in #Bangladesh. If you wish to make a donation towards the education of the children in Dhaka follow this link: Thank you

Only 8 days left until Maria's next #Ironman! This time in #Lanzarote, #Spain. On race day, the event's two-lap swim course will take place at Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen, the main tourist resort of the island. The bike course is well known for challenging athletes with strong winds, and leads athletes around the island with over 2551 meters of climbing. Finally, the 3-lap run course leads competitors along the flat sea front of Puerto del Carmen, towards the airport and back. Please please show your support by making a donation here: #europe #marathon #run #running #runner #runninggirl #runningcommunity #loverunning #everymomentcounts #triathlete #athlete #220gram #runitfast #jogging #runhappy #furtherfasterforever #runnerspace #finishline #cardio #exercise #workout #fitness #fitspo #fitnessaddict #ultrarunners #fundraising #charity

Noor Hassan visited our kids in #Dhaka recently and donated vital funds towards school transport. Thank you! Get in touch if you too would like to visit - it is as easy as ABC! You will see where the children study, where they live and meet their families. A big THANK YOU to all our supporters, volunteers and visitors for ensuring these lovely #children have a bright #future ahead.

Maria has completed yet another #Ironman - her 4th in 35 days. What an #AMAZING achievement for someone, who is not an athlete, but does this for children that would otherwise not be able to go to school. You don't need to complete an Ironman to help. Make a donation and give these #children a future and help make Maria's incredible efforts worthwhile.

More than 2700 athletes, their supporters and families have converged on the Hastings for a three-day event which includes a community fun run, Ironkids mini triathlon and main #Ironman race on Sunday. Amongst them will be Maria Conceição. The main race starts with hitting the water at about 7am. The bike transition on Westport Park will be a great vantage point for early morning action as I head out on a gruelling 180km two-lap ride south to the Camden Haven and back before hitting the ground for the 42.2km marathon run. Maria will be competing in tomorrow's Ironman to raise vital funds for our work in Bangladesh to continue. Support us here: #tri #triathlete #ironmantri #swimbikerun #protriathlete #trilife #athletic #athlete #athletelife #triathlonlife #triathalontraining #triathletesofinsta #iamtriathlete #ironmantraining #swimming #ciclismo #tritraining #iamironman #run #running #bike #swim #cycling #training #fitness

As a charity, we rely on your generosity to continue our work in #Bangladesh. We help #children living in the slums obtain a quality #education to change their lives for the better. Please consider sponsoring a student or donating a small amount.

GOOD NEWS! We have started a school bus for the 80 youngest children. They will now get to school safely, on time and at no extra cost to their parents. The bus costs 4000 Bangladeshi Taka (about $50) per day for 80 students. Please support this initiative and help these beautiful children to school safely:

When was the last time you completed an #Ironman? What about 3 Ironman in a month!? Our founder, Maria Conceição, has done just that and is about to do another 3 in #May. Support her #amazing efforts and join us in congratulating her relentless willingness to do anything for her 127 #children in #Bangladesh.

With #Ironman no. 3 just around the corner (TOMORROW!) join us in supporting Maria, who is doing 6 Ironman on 6 continents to raise vital funds for us to continue our work in #Bangladesh. Please give as much or as little as you can, it all helps us reach the goal:

In an incredible feat of self-defiance Maria completed #Ironman number 2 in #Houston, #Texas. With the next Ironman just around the corner, we need your #help more than ever before to secure the vital funds to the Maria Cristina Foundation to continue to exist. Help us get closer to the target:

#Ironman number 2 in #Houston, #Texas is about to start! Track Maria's progress here: We will try and relay your wishes to her as often as possible to keep her motivated. The best #motivation to keep her going are donations - after all, this is why she is putting her body to such a gruelling test. Let's get much closer to reaching our fundraising target while Maria runs, swims and cycles for the kids in #Bangladesh! DONATE HERE: No amount is too small. Thank you!

Only 2 DAYS to go to Maria's #Ironman number 2. Tune in this Saturday to follow her as she runs, swims and cycles for the children in Bangladesh! Every little donation and word of encouragement will help more than you know!

Alamin (19) is the poet at Maria Cristina Foundation. He writes mostly about his love for Bangladesh and he really loves the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam, who was a much-loved Bengali poet. When Alamin recites one of his poems, his friends gather round and respectfully listen. A thoughtful silence followed by a thundering applause brings a smile that speaks of pride on Alamin’s face. The national curriculum does not yet place much emphasis on being creative, but the works of the most important Bengali and international artists are learned at school. “I learned about Shakespeare in my English class. Sometimes it is difficult to understand his words, but I like what he writes. So much about love.” Alamin shares a room with his father, who is a painter, mother, who works as a maid and a younger brother. His older sister no longer lives with the family. Alamin’s mother squats on the concrete floor chopping vegetables in preparation for dinner while his elderly father can be heard coughing from bed. They live in poverty, like so many others in the community. Yet they do not complain. Alamin’s parents see much hope in his future. Inevitably Alamin feels responsible for looking after his parents. He says he will probably not pursue his poetry further, because that will not make a sufficient living to support his family. He hopes to find a part-time job after high school and go to university to learn a trade. Help us support the dreams of young people:

Shining bright amongst the mounds of rubbish and chaotic scenes inherent in the slums, Srity (11, in yellow) has huge #potential. She is an intelligent, socially adept young woman who is very mature for her age. As one of four #daughters, Srity lives in two small rooms with her sisters Sumi (20, in pink head scarf), Rumi (15, in green), Kobita (10, in pink), mother Rabeya (36) and father Arunmia (52). They’ve only lived in their current rooms for the last year. “There were many problems in the previous house; the neighbours didn’t treat the children well so we had to move,” their mother explains. In the bedroom a sewing machine serves as a constant reminder for the majority of uneducated girls their age that work within garment factories. Their father is the sole breadwinner and suffers from a serious heart condition. Rabeya explains: “He really needs to take medication, but we can’t afford it.” As a rickshaw puller, he endures one of the most backbreaking and low paid jobs in #Bangladesh. “If I want to help myself, then I need a proper education.” Contrary to many of her peers in the slum, Srity understands that. This attitude runs across her siblings who have high hopes for their futures. Srity and Kobita #dream to fly in the sky, #travelling the world and help people get from A to B as airline pilots. The eldest sister, Sumi, would like to study in the US and now that she’s finished school is undergoing evening workshops supported by MCF. The #marriage of girls aged as young as 11-12 years is the societal norm in Bangladesh. Srity explains: “Other families consider the girls as a burden so they pass on the burden to another family. Educated girls get married later.” Rabeya drives home a philosophy of #education and subsequent self-reliance. The dream she has for her daughters is for them to be independent and for no one to mess around with them, and she says the only way for this to happen is through proper education and hard work. Through their education, Srity and her sisters have been enlightened as to their own great potential and are empowered to negate the cultural pressures that threaten their development into intelligent and wholly capable young #women. While we need to pay for school fees and other education related costs, the value of education for these girls is priceless and life changing. Help us help them:

Calling all cabin crew on a Dhaka layover! On your Dhaka layover, if you'd like to meet the Maria Cristina Foundation children and visit the slums, please get in touch with Jewel on or WhatsApp +8801714215582. Your hotel can arrange a driver for you! Donations that would be appreciated: -School snacks e.g. dry fruits and dry nuts (no sweets please!) -Toiletries such as toothbrushes, tooth paste, hair brushes, soap, shampoo, deodorant & sanitary pads -Rice & dal (the youngest child is 8 years old so they don't need baby food) -Stationery and art material such as colouring books, pencils, pens, paint, brushes We recommend you buy them locally as it's much cheaper and supports the local businesses. For more information please visit: Have a safe trip and wonderful layover! Do send us photos of your visit and tag @mcfconnect. #mariacristinafoundation #Dhaka #Bangladesh #cabincrew #crewlife #flightattendant #Fly #layover #flight #donations #Dubai #expats

Volunteers needed to help Maria Cristina Foundation identifying and researching grant making trusts and foundations alongside preparing applications for funding.

Maria’s new challenge is here! Have you heard of Ironman? It’s an extreme triathlon, featuring a 3.8K swim, 180K on a bike and a 42K race! Insane, right? To raise funds to the children of MCF, Maria is testing her limits and her wellbeing, by completing not one, but six ironman challenges, in six continents in the shortest amount of time possible! The first challenge took place yesterday, in South Africa, and Maria did it in 14h22m, starting a road that will hopefully bring the funding needed to secure the education of Maria Cristina Foundation children. We are counting on you to help us make this story go viral, and to reach our fundraising goal of $479.000, which will allow us to sponsor the education of all of our children until they finish their school career. Share, share and share some more, let’s show Maria that we are behind her 100% and that she is not alone in this!! Together, we can reach higher! **Please share and help us make sure none of these bright children will lose their chance to break the cycle of poverty through education. Please make a donation here: #BeBold #NoExcuses #YesICan #mariacristinafoundation #sportinlife #everymomentcounts #fit #fitness #fitsp #healthy #heartnothype #motivation #newchallenge #personalbest #training #transformation #furtherfasterforever #endurance #dreambig2017 #mywhy

Maria Cristina Foundation shared Arquidiocese de Braga's photo.

We have worked in the Gawair community in Dhaka for nearly 12 years. The positive changes we have seen are immense. Parents have found employment, children have been spared from a life working in garment factories, girls have been saved from child marriages. Over 600 young boys and girls have had a chance to obtain a quality education. Children, who 12 years ago were aimlessly roaming around the streets have graduated from high school and are going to university. REAL CHANGE has happened. We need your help to keep the momentum going. Here is what we need to raise in the next 10 years: EVERY contribution will help. Let no child be confined to a life in poverty.

Feedback of Sonia Ferreira that did a quick visit to Bangladesh and MCF. Nothing prepares you for the extreme poverty, that hurts your heart and soul, for being so cruel and unfair and that changes you, forever… This was my feeling after my first visit to Bangladesh, it felt like as I had been ripped out from a world where, despite some difficulties, there is always someone willing to help and support so that everybody can have minimum survival conditions, to a world where there is absolutely nothing, for many children. Where there is no home, no food, nothing to wear and the only purpose to many children is just to survive another day… That was when I discovered the Maria Cristina Foundation and the amazing work they developed with many of these children, giving them, besides everything else, the ability to dream and to believe they can become whoever they desire to be. I have meet one of these children in my return to Bangladesh recently, that shared his impressive story, similar to many of the other children supported by this project, that fought against all odds to become the best they can be, full of dreams and will to learn, eager to live the life they now know that it is possible. “We are the kids of Maria”, he said, in a perfect English, in a speech full of kindness and gratitude, contagious enthusiasm and a his eyes full of dreams. It is know our job to make sure we can help make those dreams a reality.

I do need help – lots of it. I’m looking for skilled people to help in fundraising. We are a small organisation and we need help – plain and simple. The project is my world, but it isn’t a world I want to keep to myself. Although the project was my vision, I need people to make it their vision too.

Milon (11) has been with us since the beginning. On the top right is the way we found him. His mother was sick with #tuberculosis at the time, so he was left to his own devices. We admitted Milon at #nursery and now he is already a clever young man in 5th grade. Milon was brought up by his mother. Milon's father left and married another woman when the boy was just 3 months old. Being a single mother in the slum society is complex as it is normally the men who go out to work while women stay at home to take care of the home and children. In a very unfortunate turn of events, Milon was recently abandoned by his mother as well. She married another man, who does not accept Milon. We don’t know the full story and we don’t know what is going through Milon’s mother’s mind or why she decided to marry someone, who does not accept her child. Maybe she found it difficult to continue as a single mother, to live in debt. Maybe she thinks Milon is better off without her. Maybe she will find refuge in a marriage, where she will be taken care of by her husband. It is not up to us to judge. Our first and foremost concern is Milon and his wellbeing. Milon is desperate to continue going to #school. He is extremely resilient despite his devastating circumstances and smiles shyly. He loves #cricket and tries to find some time to practice his bowling with his friends. He has big dreams: he wants to become a #pilot. Please help us help Milon. A neighbouring family has taken him in at the moment and are willing to look after Milon if we help them with 3000 Bangladeshi Taka (USD 40) a month and school transport (75 cents a day). Please write to us at if you can help. Please share this post to make sure we find the help we need for Milon.

Is there anyone out here who has extensive knowledge of Google accounts and can help us with our Google for business account? We have a small issue with e-mail accounts that we need help with. Please let us know if you can lend us 10 minutes of your time!

Did you know that Maria Conceicao is available for speaking engagements? Get in touch if you want you and your team to be inspired, motivated and filled with new energy! More info and fees here:

Writer needed to write the personal stories of our children. Needs to be able to travel to Bangladesh.

"Sponsoring a student is a very rewarding experience. You make a friend for life." Sponsoring a student could not be easier. Get in touch today to get started. Meet the 14 students that still need a sponsor:

A big THANK YOU to Café de Españolas de Dubai and Marian Munoz for your generous donation! Find out more about what we do and make your contribution here:

Alamin (17) must be the most curious student at the Maria Cristina Foundation. His insatiable #curiosity about everyone and everything means he asks a lot of questions, which in turn means he knows a lot more than an average Bangladeshi school kid. He can tell you about European #history, introduce you to the most popular #Bollywood films and tell you all about how a combustion engine works all in one breath. Alamin is also a keen photographer (whenever he has a visitor’s camera to use!) and has an eye for detail. However, he is not interested in becoming a photographer. He wants to be a businessman and open an import-export business. He doesn’t yet know what he wants to import and export, but he is adamant that he will not be exporting garments. “Entering garments business in Bangladesh is easy. There are too many factories. I want to make something different. Bangladesh has much more than garments industry and I want to make sure everyone knows it,” he explains. He also wants to build a 5 star hotel in #Dhaka to accommodate all the tourists he will bring into the country soon! Alamin lives with his mother Shokina Begum, who works as a maid and earns about $50 per month, of which about $40 is paid for rent for their one-room home. Alamin’s father is not around. Alamin says he had Alzheimer’s and one day just did not return home, but nobody knows what the truth is. Alamin has taken it in his stride and carries on helping his mother as much as he can, attending school and getting excellent results, much thanks to his insatiable curiosity and natural ease around people. Alamin is a true citizen of the world and goes to show that one does not need to live in one of the world’s cosmopolitans to be worldly wise. Make your contribution to help bright minds like Alamin fulfil their goals:

On International Women’s Day we want to introduce you to one of our brightest stars: Madhobi (17). She is a strong advocate for women’s rights and believes that girls must and can be independent when they are educated. “I don’t want to depend on my future husband or my parents. I can study, I can work and I can take care of myself just like my brothers.” Madhobi shares a 1-bedroom apartment with 5 other people: her mother (tailor), father (garments worker), grandmother, elder sister and younger brother. Compared to many others in the community, her home is in a very good condition: there’s space, a secure front door and good washing and cooking facilities. Her family is a great example of what perseverance, working together towards a goal and being focused can achieve. They are supportive of her education and have provided her a comfortable environment to succeed at school. Madhobi herself is soft-spoken yet confident. She is articulate, eloquent and sharp-minded. To be so bold in her thinking and actions in the predominantly male-dominated environment she lives in takes real courage. We are so pleased to have been able to help Madhobi for the past 11 years and cannot wait to see what she goes on to achieve when she graduates from high school next year. When we ask her what she wants to become, her answer is adept: “I want to be successful.” #BeBoldForChange #womensday2017

Ahead of International Women's Day we want to emphasise the importance of an education for young #girls and #women. #Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage. 52% of girls are married before the age of 18 (UNICEF). It is an epidemic. We are proud of our girls, who face a daily fight against societal norms and whose perseverance is incredible in the face of a culture which deems marrying at the age of 13 entirely normal. About half of our students are girls. They are girls that dare to #dream big and see themselves achieving much more than the roles prescribed to them by their communities. Thank you to everyone, who has donated. Your contribution is helping girls achieve more. Please consider making a regular #donation, so we can better plan for the #future and make sure all our students, girls and boys, will successfully graduate from high school and find their place in the world, out of slums and #poverty.

Maria Cristina Foundation shared MCF Cats's event.

International Womens Day - Spanish Business Council

Please join me for International Womens Day together with incredibly inspirational women making their mark in the region. During a breakfast/roundtable discussion with influential business leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs, discover the challenges and achievements of these powerful women.

March 8, 2017 - March 8, 2017

These students still need a sponsor to attend school. Give what you can - sponsor a student for a whole year or make a small contribution. You WILL make a difference.

PolarExplorers, who organise expeditions to the North Pole, have 2 places available for an expedition to Longyearbyen, Norway in April. PolarExplorers will donate 10 000 EUR to Maria Cristina Foundation on behalf of each participant joining for us. Get in touch for prices, dates and details on this opportunity of a lifetime:

Runa is 8 years old and studies under the Maria Cristina Foundation’s scholarship in 1st grade. Layers of colourful fabric cover the wooden board on the earth floor, where Runa sleeps alongside her mother Rina (26), father (construction worker, 27 or 28), and her elder brother, Rana (10). This will also be where Rina will give birth to her third child in the coming weeks. She is nervous as she has suffered several pains in her stomach, and with no access to healthcare her neighbours will assist in the delivery. Taking up most of the space in their room, the bed is where the newborn will sleep and where Runa and her brother will complete their homework. Runa has a beaming smile and exudes a charming air of fun and mischievousness, and her mother describes her as ‘very naughty, but getting more polite’. Runa has clear aspirations for the future. She dreams of becoming a police officer. Her mother Rina is ‘very pleased’ her daughter is supported by MCF as otherwise she would invariably be working in a garments factory. Having finished local school aged 12, Rina says : “I don’t want my children to face the same problems I have faced.” Having lived here for three years, the family would like to move from their current house but can’t afford to do so. They say the area is dirty, over crowded with poor quality housing. During rainy season, the slum will flood, there is no clean water supply and the families resort to raising their beds from the ground with bricks. Despite the challenges of living in an informal slum, the family does what they can to make life more comfortable for their children. Runa, with her lively character and unwavering optimism is a testament to her parents’ efforts. With education, she will not only have a happy childhood, but will go on to become an educated young lady with many more possibilities than her parents could ever provide. Donate now to create change in the lives of children like Runa:

We need to raise $1,000 for school uniforms. Please send all donations directly to Cambrian School in Dhaka via money transfer. Details: Mohammad Mahabubur Rahman (financial director of Cambrian School), mobile number: 01720557161. We can issue receipts once we receive the funds.

The beneficiaries of charity are often considered different from those able to give to charities. But in fact, we are all the same. The children and teenagers we help have the same dreams, aspirations, problems and tantrums as any child in the developed world would. The children we are helping are no different to yours. You now have the opportunity to ‘meet’ our students to get to know them better and to understand how Maria Cristina Foundation is changing their lives. Please share, like, comment and most importantly, donate. Meet Hosne (sitting on the right with her sisters and cousins). Hosne is 16 and has been a part of MCF family since 2005. She is now finishing 10th grade and will be starting 11th this summer. Hosne’s parents used to be farmers, before they made the move to #Dhaka to look for better opportunities. After years of trying to make the ends meet, they returned to their village since they can no longer work and support their children. Hosne now lives with her 18-year old sister and 23-year old brother, who take care of the #family. Her brother does some independent work as an electrician, but the main financial responsibility falls on the shoulders of Hosne’s sister, who works in a garments factory. She has 6 siblings altogether. Her two younger sisters go to a local school and three older sisters work at garment factories. Hosne’s #home is a room shared by 7 other family members: he sister’s husband and children also stay there with Hosne’s other siblings. Despite the lack of space and facilities for doing her homework, Hosne is extremely focused on her studies and will let nothing shake her confidence. She’s quiet, but determined; kind-hearted, but not weak. She dreams of a better life outside the Gawair slum area and wants to provide a better life for her parents. “Nobody helped my parents go to school, so I am responsible for sharing this gift with them,” she says humbly.

Happy Valentine's from us and our students in Dhaka! Show your love by sponsoring a student today:

Throughout January and February, our volunteers have been facilitating several workshops on personal and professional development for our children. These sessions have covered many different themes, such as problem solving, leadership skills, language proficiency, CV preparation, reproductive health and sex ed. and even yoga! As usually, our children never cease to amaze us with their eagerness to learn, willIngness to be a part of the workshops and overall incredible abilities! It's amazing to be part of this movement, we hope you will be a part of it too! Help, share, be a part of the wave of change! Make dreams come true:

These are students who don’t yet have a sponsor. If you wish to sponsor one of them, please e-mail us at The fees for 2017 are: Grade 1-8: $1,000 Grade 9-10: $1,250 Grade 11-12: $1,500 We encourage sponsors to commit till the end of the student’s education and build a relationship with them in order to avoid anyone having to drop out of school after years of studying. However, we do realise that circumstances change and you may not be able to sponsor a student for longer than a year. Please share and help us make sure none of these bright children will lose their chance to break the cycle of poverty through education. Please make a donation here: Thank you for your support - we could not help these students without you!

This is Tania Akter. She was forced by her desperate family to quit school and go to work in a garments factory for the past 3+ weeks. She will not be able to continue her studies unless someone comes forward willing to support her with school transport, food and house rent. She will continue to need help, so we are hoping to find her a part time tutoring job after school, so she can at least cover her rent or school transport. But she will need help for 2 - 3 months until that happens. It is really frustrating that Tania is put in this situation by her family, but this is how it is, this is why these communities are stuck in a cycle of poverty. Anyone willing to help, please inbox us here or email or make a donation for Tania here: