An ultra-effort in aid of asylum seekers: 250km run through desert

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am

Bonita Choi Ming-yui, 25, has enjoyed running since she was at school. The equity analyst, who works for a Singaporean brokerage in Hong Kong, will take her hobby to a whole new level when she takes part in a seven-day, 250km endurance race organised by RacingThePlanet, through Namibia's harsh climes next month.

The ultramarathon through the Namib Desert will see Choi deal with scorching temperatures during the day and chilly nights down to minus 5 degrees Celsius.

Despite the threat of inflammation, shin splints and any other injuries that could come her way, Choi is determined to see the run through, to raise funds for a cause close to her heart: asylum-seeking women and their children in Hong Kong.

'I've been running and hiking with 8kg on my back, and at Easter I did a three-day hike, but I'm trying not to overtrain,' she said. 'I love running because it's a meditation for me. It's a quiet time for me.'

Choi will run and compete against athletes from around the world through Fish River Canyon in the Namib Desert. The finishing location will be around the town of Luderitz on the coast of Namibia.

Choi is looking for people to sponsor each kilometre or half kilometre. Thirty-five per cent of the proceeds will go directly to women asylum seekers and refugees, 35 per cent to education costs of asylum seekers' children, and 30 per cent to operation costs of the Chungking Mansions Service Centre run by Christian Action. The women and children who arrive there have often been through war, torture, rape and persecution.

'This cause fell into my lap,' she said, adding that many of the experiences of women, often coming from Africa, were very painful.

If you would like to support her, there will be a fund-raising event next Tuesday at Solas bar and lounge, at The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, from 7pm to midnight, with 30 per cent of the proceeds from drinks going to the cause. Donations can also be made via