Walk against poverty at the World Partnership Walk
Credit: CHRIS BALDWIN AND MOEZ VISRAM
Mathews Hall school students participating in the campaigning for World Partnership Walk
AKFC is an agency of the worldwide Aga Khan network working in 30 different countries and is also a registered charity established in 1980.
The goal of these agencies all over the world is to help develop the social, economic and cultural dimensions in the society. The main cause AKFC that is fighting against is global poverty. The mission of AKFC is to improve living conditions and opportunities for the poor regardless of their faith, origin or gender.
The World Partnership Walk takes place in ten cities across Canada, supported by over 40,000 Canadians. The walk is organized by 1,500 volunteers and is sponsored by more than 560 Canadian corporations. Last year, the event raised over $7 million, making the total reach over $95 million since 1985.
All of the funds collected through any activity or donations are not used for meeting the administrative or management costs.
“The Canadian government has been very supportive towards us. They match every dollar to dollar making the funds double the amount from what is originally being raised. This actually helps me believe in the foundation too. It makes me think, if the government is showing such tremendous support, this sure must be legitimate. And it makes me feel good about myself knowing that I am a part of this organization,” said Sandy Rattan- Ladak, stage lead at the World Partnership Walk and a volunteer at AKFC.
The AKFC does not believe in providing the poor with just food, clothes or shelter. The foundation designs programs that are sustainable in the long term. The funds that are collected are used to build facilities for the global poor like building hospitals, water treatment centres and more. To the aspiring entrepreneurs who cannot afford loans, the foundation helps them with interest free loans for their business. After a project is implemented, the foundation also looks over the maintenance.
“Basically, we provide the poor with tools to go further ahead. The goal is to help them being able to help themselves. We want them to develop lifelong skills by teaching them how to do things, so that they can earn for themselves instead of relying completely on donations,” said Sharmeen Somani, media relations for the walk and a volunteer at the AKFC.
The World Partnership Walk includes the Global Village, Bollywood dance, Greek dance, henna tattooing, face painting and many more activities.
Food will be available at the venue with vegetarian options at a nominal cost, and 100 per cent of the funds raised will be donated.
“We have invited a lot of corporations to participate in the walk with their teams wearing their own brand clothes. These corporations always try to participate with us, since they get a chance to have fun, participate in a cause and still get a platform for free advertising of their brands,” Somani said.
The walk is fairly leisurely, leaving the participants with a lot of time to picnic with their families at the park on Sunday afternoon with free entertainment and food, all for a good cause.