Christina Guastella, Co-Founder of boutique fitness
studio NRG Fitness, has joined forces with Manal
Rostom, founder of online community Surviving Hijab, to
climb Everest Base Camp this month. Manal and
Christina will be joined by a crew of incredible Hijabi
women to take on Everest base camp in a bid to raise
awareness for tolerance and equality.
Manal launched Surviving Hijab in August 2014 as she
was felt bullied and uncomfortable for her choice to
exercise faith by covering up. Now Surviving Hijab is
considered one of the biggest communities on Facebook
with over 622,000 members. The group grew to the point
where it caught the attention of Facebook and Manal
was invited to give a talk at Facebook headquarters in
Dubai in May 2017, followed by a talk at their
headquarters in the USA in March 2018. Manal then
applied for the Facebook Community Leadership Award
that was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in January 2018 to
support community leaders by providing them with
monetary support to grow their communities. Out of
6,000 applicants, Surviving Hijab won $50,000
(Dhs183,625) to enhance the activities of the group
worldwide. Manal’s mission is to create awareness about tolerance, inclusivity, kindness and equality
for all women via Surviving Hijab.
The Surviving Hijab Everest Base Camp climb has an itinerary of two weeks and Manal, along with
Christina and the other trekkers, want to show the world what it means to be a hijabi woman living in
the 21st century. The climb, which is in partnership with Rahhalah and Facebook and sponsored by
NAMSHI and MonViso Water, will see trekkers reach a maximum altitude of EBC – 5,357m.
Christina is one of two non-hijab wearing women to take on this epic challenge. As a qualified Les
Mills instructor and founder of NRG Fitness, Christina is passionate about fitness and helping other
people achieve their fitness goals. Christina took on the challenge of climbing Mount Toubkal with
Rahhalah Explorers in 2017 and successfully reached the summit, however Everest will be her
biggest challenge to date.