OTTAWA, Canada– Thousands of Canadians came together to improve the quality of life for more than a billion people around the world with the annual World Partnership Walk.
The Walk is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation Canada and is Canada’s largest annual walk to increase awareness and raise funds to fight poverty.
The Walk attracts “tens of thousands of Canadians every year united in a common effort to bring hope and renewal to poor communities living in Asia and Africa.”
The participants helped to raise more than $1.7 million. Furthermore, the donations are still coming in and the number of funds raised is likely to hit the $2 million mark, according to Fiaz Basaria, the convener of the Partnership Walk.
“I’m so proud of how far we’ve come,” Basaria said. “For 30 years, our participants, volunteers and donors have made a significant contribution to the fight against poverty. The Walk is a real way for Canadians to spark hope in communities in some of the poorest parts of the world. Today we celebrate our efforts to help people across the globe to reach their full potential and to live with dignity.”
The event also offered team games, global village education programs and activities for seniors and children.
“Although the idea of eliminating global poverty may seem daunting, the solutions are tangible and achievable,” said Sahar Jamal, one of the participants of the walk and who has campaigned against global poverty since the age of 10. “The good news is we’re making progress and the numbers of people living in extreme poverty have been cut down by half in less than half the timeline set by the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals.”
Since its inception 30 years ago, the Walk has raised $82 million for international development programs and initiatives. It is the largest and most successful event of its kind in Canada.
“As a second generation Canadian, I feel lucky to be born in Canada simply because my parents moved here from India and Tanzania,”Jamal said. “What if I was born in a different area to a different family? A small village? Living in extreme poverty? Or on less than $1.25?”
Last year, almost 40,000 Canadians participated in the Walk to raise over $7 million in Calgary, Edmonton, Waterloo, London, Ottawa, Montreal, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. All of the donations raised go directly toward AKFC international development projects. The funds also help the Aga Khan Foundation Canada to gain support from the Canadian Government, multiplying the impact of every dollar raised.
The Aga Khan Foundation Canada was established in 1980 and is an agency of the worldwide Aga Khan Development Network, a group of development agencies with individual mandates that address social, economic and cultural dimensions of development. These agencies are active in 30 countries and share a mission to improve living conditions and opportunities for the poor.
As stated on the Aga Khan Foundation Canada website, the programs “demonstrate that success is possible when poverty is tackled on multiple fronts, over the long-term, and with communities in charge.”