Off to climb 'Mount Fuji' here to raise funds for special needs youth

President Halimah Yacob flagging off the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge 2021 at the Istana yesterday. Eight participants with special needs will each attempt to scale the equivalent of Mount Fuji, which stands at 3,776m, by climbing hills and stairs around Singapore. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Over the next three months, eight people with special needs in Singapore will each attempt to scale the equivalent of Mount Fuji, which stands at 3,776m.

They will climb hills and stairs around Singapore, and track the distance on the Strava mobile app.

The eight are participants of YMCA's Special Needs Inclusive Challenge 2021, which was flagged off by President Halimah Yacob at the Istana yesterday.

It aims to raise $250,000 to support YMCA's programmes for youth with special needs, and will end on May 29.

Addressing participants in a recorded message, Madam Halimah said: "I am encouraged by the confidence and courage shown by YMCA and their special needs ambassadors. It proves that those with special needs also have special talents."

Among the eight are returning participants, Ms Oh Siew May, 50, and Mr Harun Rahamad, 32, who both took part in a 2019 edition of the challenge in Japan. They climbed Mount Fuji together with eight others but had to abandon the effort less than 500m from the top because of harsh weather.

Ms Oh said: "Disabled does not mean being unable. For those with special needs and those going through hard times due to Covid-19, I want to stir up our spirits and show that we can get by with determination no matter how difficult things may be."

Mr Rahamad said his experience in 2019 was fruitful as it helped to build his self-confidence, adding that he hopes others will join in the virtual climb as well.

Those who wish to contribute to the challenge, either by donating or by participating, can do so at https://fuji.ymca.org.sg

The final day for registration is April 29, and participants can either choose to climb Mount Fuji virtually, or walk, run or cycle its 125km perimeter.

Participants can sign up as either individuals or groups, and 120 have signed up thus far.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 28, 2021, with the headline Off to climb 'Mount Fuji' here to raise funds for special needs youth. Subscribe