WINDOW ON CANADA
Fighting global poverty with the walk
GlobalomNet Media Service
18th annual WORLD PARTNERSHIP WALK, on May 26, held simultaneously in
Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Kitchener, London, Ont.,
Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, raised an estimated $2.6 million, 25
per cent more funds than last year.
Earlier this year, on February 19th, the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Corporate Breakfast was held to launch this year's Walk.
Walk, the largest events of its kind in Canada, brought together
tens of thousands of people from all walks of life in support of
international development and to fight global poverty.
Walk is “a meaningful way to bring everyone together in partnership with
those living in poverty,” said Deputy Prime Minister John Manley as he
kicked off the walk in Ottawa. “Canadians
are increasingly becoming aware of the need to take action to end the
despair caused by global poverty.”
of volunteers and about 800 corporate sponsors, including The Globe and
Mail and CTV, supported this year's event. “Canadians are looking for
what they can do to make a difference, and we're responding to that,”
Globe publisher Phillip Crawley said in a statement.
walk was developed in 1985 as Walk for a Cause in Vancouver and drew 300
participants, raising $30,000.
year Vancouver raised $500,000, and 5,000 people participated. The local
convener, Mr. Damji said the events of Sept. 11 and the crisis in the
Middle East have made people more globally aware and have filled them with
a desire to do something for those in developing countries.
was a three-hour cultural variety show that included everything from
hip-hop to ballet to cap the walk in Vancouver.
Toronto, about 7,000 people walked the course -- double last year's number
-- and raised about $1-million.
Edmonton, under sunny skies and temperatures that rose to 20, an estimated
3,000 people -- a 50-per-cent increase over last year -- followed the
route from the Alberta Legislature through the river valley.
Hassam, an Edmonton organizer, said one of the most remarkable aspects of
the event was about 400 Girl Guides, many of whom completed the walk
balancing steel buckets and water-filled urns on their heads or with log
bundles strapped to their backs.
was part of their sense of awareness to do this and experience what women
in developing countries experience,” said Ms. Hassam, who estimated they
had raised more than $250,000.
Winnipeg, where 450 people walked from the Manitoba Legislature along the
Red River, the event blossomed into a multicultural party. Led by a
marching band from Yorkton, Sask., the parade of walkers was treated at
the end of the five-kilometre trail to Indian, African and Ukrainian
Aga Khan Foundation Canada sponsors programs such as these, and because
100 per cent of the money goes toward international-development projects,
including biogas stoves, the foundation is "actively making
[people's] lives a bit better," said Mr. Mamdani.
Mamdani remembers well the smiling face of a woman he met cooking food on
her new chula in a village in India.
wondered how come she had a big smile on her face. She just got her
appliance," said Mr. Mamdani, the Toronto-area convener for this
Sunday's annual World Partnership Walk, organized to raise money for the
Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
chula was a stove run on biogas. It converts cow dung into methane,
freeing women in the village from chopping wood and allowing them to
participate in other activities.
Aziz Ladhani, AKFC's Chief Executive Officer, said that “The
unparalleled support shown for the Walk across the country - both from
individuals and corporations - is an indication of the bond Canadians feel
with people in the developing world.”
Bouza, spokesman for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, said the foundation
is increasingly receiving expressions of interest from Canadians who want
to feel a part of the global village. “The world is our back yard.
Canadians are very global; they travel a lot; they see this stuff, and
they want to do something,” Mr. Bouza said.