Shafeen Mustaq is one of the few young Australians who is ready to give up the comfort of their warm winter beds to trek through the Simpson Desert and raise funds for youth housing.

The 23-year old Canberra resident and her husband had been preparing for the 250 km journey spanning eight days as part of Youngcare’s campaign. This campaign aims to provide much needed facilities for over 5000 young Australians who are currently living in aged care.

“The opportunity to fundraise for young Australians with high care needs who are in desperate need of help, coupled with the opportunity to go on an adventure together is what propelled us,” she said.

The idea of being surrounded by the “great outdoors” with her husband for a charitable cause created a “spiritual aura” that drew Mustaq’s attention.

“I romanticised the notion of a desert trek with comparisons to the Prophet’s travels through the desert and his nights in the cave thinking about life; to walk as a small fragile being in an infinite space and contemplate the universe in an attempt to get closer to God.”

The underlying cause of Mustaq’s trip is to create better lives for disadvantaged young Australians and give them “unconditional love and support”. So far she has raised almost $3,000 through her online fundraising website.

“When we visited the Youngcare facility in Woollowin and spoke to its residents, the sheer look of joy not only on the faces of the residents, but also on the faces of their families was exceedingly rewarding. Their gratitude to those helping their loved ones was touching.”

Unfortunately, despite months of training, Mustaq has to step down from participating in this trek because of a weak knee. She has however, resolved to continue fundraising for the cause.

“I am still strong enough to fundraise! We have been reaching out to friends and family, local businesses and even large corporations for donations. We are also planning to hold some events to fundraise locally in Canberra.”

This isn’t Mustaq’s first involvement in a campaign to help the less fortunate. She is well known for her active participation in many charity organisations such as Probasy to raise funds for the poor and disadvantaged in Bangladesh.

“I created, developed and executed Project Incubate 2012 which fundraised over $5,000 within 8 months through small events leading to the purchase of two incubators and two phototherapy units which I personally delivered to BMMSU hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh.”

Mustaq’s fervent passion for youth and human rights stemming from her religion is strongly supported by her family. She believes that serving others is a way of improving her own standing with God.

“I do all that I do so that I can go before Allah SWT and say that I have made the most of all the blessings He granted me. Every opportunity I get to help others is merely an opportunity to help myself.”