Kingston’s first World Partnership Walk was a “huge success.”
BY SULTAN JESSA
And more donations are still trickling in.
“Our first walk was a huge success,” said an elated Zully Hemani, chair of the local walk. “About 150 people participated in this inaugural walk.”
Among those participating in 1.6 km walk were Sophie Kiwala, the Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands, Councillor Jim Neill and Kingston and Ottawa area residents.
Hemani said the Queens Ismaili Muslims Students Association (QIMSA) greatly added to the success of the first walk.
All the funds raised will go directly to international development initiatives like health programs, education and support for community based initiatives.
“We thank everyone who contributed the success of our first walk,” added Hemani.
Also participating in the walk was Bashir Surani, president of Ismaili Council for Ottawa.
Traditional and local music was provided by Nasim Charania and Shenila Hemani, who also assisted with children’s programs and henna tattoos.
The Kingston walk started from the MacDonald Park.
Successful fundraising walks, an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, are held annually in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, London and Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.
About $10-million is expected to be raised by World Partnership Walks this year.
This popular and eagerly anticipated event began in Vancouver in 1985 when members of the Ismaili Women’s Organization Committee, driven to give back to the African and Asian countries they had grown up in, raised $55,000in an inaugural walk.
The walk has since spread to several Canadian cities, raising more than $70-millionto fight global poverty.
The Aga Khan Foundation Canada works with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and other organizations to ensure that 100 per cent of the funds go directly into initiatives in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, and many other developing countries in East Africa and the rest of Africa.
Thousands of Canadians from all walks of life pitch in to help vulnerable communities in Africa and Asia climb out of poverty.
The World Partnership Walk, the largest and the longest running event of this kind in aid of global development in the country, helps to alleviate world poverty at a time when severe food crisis is escalating and sometimes erupting into unprecedented riots.
About 50,000 walkers, along with 1,000 corporate sponsors, have already participated in the walk this year.
Such walks help to raise funds and awareness in the fight against global poverty especially in African and Asian countries.
Funds help with education, and improving health care, increase rural homes and build community organizations in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.
The Aga Khan Foundation is a registered Canadian charity.
It was established by His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary imam of an estimated 12 million Ismaili Muslims.
The foundation currently funds more than 40 development initiatives in a dozen developing countries.
Not a single cent is spent on administration, which are covered by the foundation.
Funds raised by events like the walk help AKFC to leverage additional support from major donors like CIDA.
The official added one of the most significant global challenges is fighting poverty, whose affects are far reaching.
“The walk’s continuing success is a tangible sign of the commitment of individual Canadians to the cause of global poverty alleviation.”
The foundation and the Canadian government, primarily through CIDA, have enjoyed a close working relationship for more than a quarter of a century. CIDA provides funding for a number of programs that the foundation supports in developing countries.
CIDA and AKFC work in close partnership to develop effective solutions to poverty.
And with assistance from CIDA, the impact of funds raised in Canada is multiplied many times.
This effort by Canadians is helping to bring true meaning to the “partnership” between them and impoverished communities around the globe.
The foundation’s approach is unique.
It makes a long-term commitment to creating opportunities for families and communities living in some of the poorest parts of the world become self reliant.