Growing up in a remote traditional Portuguese village, Maria never imagined that one day not only would she work for Emirates and spend her days jetting between capitals, but that she would be dedicating every spare minute to enriching the lives of slum children in Bangladesh and Brazil. “However, I always had the bug of travelling and exploring the world running throughout my veins, and I am someone who doesn’t accept the limitations enforced upon us by society and am constantly searching for opportunities to change this world into a better place.”
“I really enjoy being cabin crew because you get to see the world, to engage with people from all walks of life, experience different cultures and cuisines. You can spend Monday in London, Thursday in Moscow and Sunday in Sydney and be paid for it! - what more can one wish?” And when she’s not 36,000 feet up, “I’m a single mother of 600 children and their parents!” she laughs.
Collecting donations, raising funds, meeting sponsors and volunteers and elevating awareness is all part of Maria’s commitment to offer optimism to her extended ‘family’. “We are currently seeking to employ 200 Bangladeshi fathers in jobs such as office boys, security guards, general assistants and hotel porters - thus enabling them to break the cycle of poverty and give their children an education and more opportunities.” She adds: “Day by day the hope of a brighter future is growing inside the little hearts of my children and I hope we can find more and more innovative ways of being a step closer to deliver that.”