Name: Maria da Conceição
Location: born in Vila Franca de Xira – grew up at Avanca
Occupation: Founder of ‘Maria Cristina Foundation’; Runner / Hiker (Marathon; Ultra-marathon; Triathlon)
Fields of Expertise: Philanthropy (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Maria da Conceição is the founder of the Maria Cristina Foundation - a non-profit organization that focuses on offering education to the poor children of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The name of the Foundation is a tribute to her adoptive mother – Maria Cristina – who took her in when she was two years old, even though she already had to take care of six other children.
Maria Cristina Foundation has been in operation for 10 years now and has provided education to over 600 children, with some of them having already grown up to be loving and responsible adults. Some of the students have received scholarships from universities in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada. Others are starting their own businesses. The Foundation also helped build several centers for the community of Dhaka such as a library, an internet café, a grocery shop, a day care center, among others.
The difficulty in raising funds led her to several sports achievements that she has used to raise awareness for her causes and Foundation, including being the first Portuguese woman to summit the Mount Everest or the participation in the World Marathon Challenge. She currently holds six ‘Guiness World Records’.