Families, corporate teams among those who take stroll through Stanley Park to fight poverty in developing nations
The World Partnership Walk, held under sunny skies in Stanley Park on Sunday, raised more than $2 million to help fight poverty in developing countries, organizers said.
The walk benefits global development projects supported by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
What began in Vancouver in 1980 as a fundraiser and celebration of giving for Vancouver’s Ismaili community has become a national event with walks in Toronto and Victoria on the same day, and walks in other Canadian cities later this month.
“What makes the walk unique,” said representative Karim Salemohammed, “is that it is underwritten by the Aga Khan foundation, and 100 per cent of all funds raised goes to projects around the world.”
Walkers, including families and corporate teams, took advantage of the sunny day to walk five kilometres through Stanley Park before joining festivities that included bhangra and other musical performances at Lumbermen’s Arch.
They also had a chance to taste some Ismaili specialties, including sugar cane juice, fresh-cut young coconut, tamarind seeds and traditional barbecue.
The Aga Kahn Foundation Canada is a non-denominational registered charity dedicated to finding solutions to global poverty through grassroots projects focusing on education, sanitation, clean water and rural economic ventures in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“The walk is really all Canadians saying we care about the world. We can do something locally and make a difference globally,” said Salemohammed.
Jameel Dawood, a volunteer at the walk’s global village tent, said what he finds most exciting about working with AKF Canada is the partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency, which meets every dollar raised with a corresponding amount of $8 or $9.
“Just $10 can educate a child in a developing country for a year,” he said.
“Most projects we support start at a grassroots level and use a sandwich approach, bringing research and development and best practices to communities at a grassroots level.”
Funds raised through the annual walk and other Aga Khan Foundation events and partnerships go to communities in countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mozambique and Kenya.
Since 1980, the event has raised more than $60 million.