Maria Cristina Foundation

The world is full of do-gooders, but rarely have I come across a woman who singlehandedly decided to change the fate of a poverty-stricken country that was completely foreign to her.

Portuguese born Maria Conceicao comes from a humble background herself. When she lost her mother to Alzheimer’s, a poor cleaner woman called Cristina took her in as her own. Cristina was an Angolian refugee, and already had 6 children of her own to feed. Her kindness, and her life’s motto  “if you can feed 6, you can easily feed 7” had a great role to play on the woman young Maria would grow up to be.

As a flight attendant with Emirates, Maria had her first encounter with the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She was shocked by the dire conditions, and more so by the waste of potential. As she says in the TED Talk video, we all come to the world as equals and it is only the opportunities that are given our way (which we have no control of) that differentiate us.

Among the young faces in the slum, Maria saw future leaders, doctors, scientists and engineers. She took it upon herself to make a difference and unabashedly asked anyone and everyone to pitch into her life’s mission.

In memory of her beloved adopted mother, Maria set up the Maria Cristina Foundation to help the children of Dhaka.

From opening schools to running marathons and even enduring an expedition to the North Pole with 5 of her students, Maria has left no stone unturned to raise funds and create a legacy for her adopted family.

Watch her inspirational video here:

I had the immense pleasure of meeting 7 young Bangladeshi girls who are currently living with Maria. These bright young women have earned scholarships for further studies in Portugal, and are currently doing internship jobs over the summer in Dubai.

A bunch of my friends and I decided to take them on a girlie day out. Watch my video below:

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"When you feed 6, you can easily feed 7"✨ . Portuguese born Maria Conceicao was selflessly adopted by Cristina, a poor Angolian refugee mother of 6 in a time when the adoption of a white child by a black mother was taboo✨ . Fast-forward to present day, and Maria has kept the legacy of generosity alive by adopting hundreds of Bangladeshi children herself 🙌 . Moved by the dire conditions of the slums of Dhaka, Maria took it upon herself as a flight attendant to look for local sponsorship to support her seemingly impossible mission ✨ . From collecting donations to challenging herself to a daring feat at the North Pole with 5 young Bangladeshi students to running local marathons to raise funds, this inspirational woman has brightened the future of hundreds ✨ . The Maria Cristina Foundation has set up schools in Dhaka, arranged for scholarships and job placements, and given the #ChildrenOfDhaka a taste of hope💖 For more information on her incredible story, visit the website www.mariacristinafoundation.org . I had the utmost priveledge of meeting 7 beautiful young women who are currently living with Maria. These bright young ladies have secured scholarships for higher studies in Portugal, and are currently doing summer internships in Dubai ✨ . A group of friends and I decided to treat the girls to a girlie day out. We talked fashion and makeup, we bought essentials, we giggled about boys and Bollywood, and indulged in a very satiating lunch at #PuraniDilli ✨ . The smiles on their faces were priceless, and we've made a bunch of brand new friends ❤️ . A huge 'thank you' to Maria for allowing us to spend time with them, and to our very enterprising friend @rajkotecha for introducing us to the #MariaCristinaFoundation 🙏 . A very special word of thanks to @shamiramitha & her team at @vervedubai for the very generous lunch at @puranidillidubai Chef Priyanshu Malvi served up a delicious 3-course fare, and the girls were especially delighted to be served their favorite dish, biryani 😊💕 . Every small gesture of kindness counts. If there's any way you would like to contribute, please DM me 🙏💕

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To learn more about the Maria Cristina Foundation, and how you too can help, visit their website by clicking here.

The world needs more superwomen like Maria Conceicao. Remember every little act of kindness helps.