18,000 REASONS TO WALK ON JUNE 12

Did you know that it takes an average of 19 cents per day, or $34 annually, to feed a child in school for one year?Well, at least, that's what it takes the ever-active World Food Programme (WFP), working in different corners of the globe, to help a kid enjoy a meal in school.



By Duane Fonseca (Staff Reporter)

Published: Fri 3 Jun 2005, 2:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:20 PM

If you're amazed by this piece of reality, and feel like you want to make a difference to the life of someone out there, consider yourself lucky, because the chance you've been waiting for, seems to have come knocking at your door.

On June 12, the WFP's 'Fight Hunger: Walk The World' programme will mark its second anniversary in the city, with the event being slated for the Dubai Creek Park. The five kilometre walk, this year, will witness thousands of Dubai's residents treading across the appropriately marked path in the park to raise funds for the programme which will be held simultaneously across the world in over 90 countries, across 24 time zones.

Explains, Zeina Habib, WFP public affairs officer — GCC Region, "This is our second programme. The first one was held last year, but that only witnessed a limited participation because the event was limited to TNT (The event's main worldwide sponsor) and WFP staff and their families.

We couldn't manage to accommodate everyone because we weren't really equipped to handle a large number of people. But this year, every thing looks great because last year's event generated so much of interest that we have been getting a lot of inquiries already. People call in and say they are coming for the walk with huge groups of around 100 and 200 people."

Apart from showing a general interest in participating in the walk, Habib mentioned that the WFP office located in the Dubai Humanitarian City, was receiving a number of calls from people willing to be involved with the programme as volunteers. "All you have to do is register and pay Dh25. People can even pledge money for the event through others who will be actually walking the walkathon."

Highlighting TNT's participation in the event, Habib said that the logistics giant had involved itself in many departments besides what it is always associated with. "Apart from working the logistics operations of the entire programme, TNT works closely with the WFP to help organise the event in different parts of the world. They have offices all over the world, which is really good for us."

Habib mentioned that working with the Dubai Municipality, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian & Charity Est. and the Dubai Aid City had really helped the programme's cause. "All the organisations we worked with for the event were really cooperative. No time was spent in trying to get the necessary permissions and besides everything else were also provided with this location to carry out our work here. So working here has been a fantastic experience."

While the regional beaurau of the WFP is located in Cairo, Egypt, the UAE has been a frontrunner in the region, especially where interest in charity events is concerned. It could be attributed to proper planning, as Habib pointed out. "Since this year's event is being held on a working day we decided to keep the walk for the evening hours. Now more people will be able to take part in the walk and walking will also be pleasant during the evenings."

According to startling facts released by the WFP, one child dies of hunger every five seconds, 18,000 children die of hunger daily, another 300 million children suffer from chronic hunger and 100 million do not attend school; most of them being girls. Through its programme last year, the WFP provided 16.6 million primary school children in 72 countries around the world with a meal, every day. This year, however, the bar has been raised and the all of the $2.5 million, which the WFP hopes to raise through this unique worldwide initiative, will go towards meeting its aim of feeding 50 million children by 2007.

The first of many walks scheduled across the world will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, at 10am local time. The walks are as diverse as their locations and spanning almost all of the continents it will include cities like Rome, Montreal, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Cairo, New York, New Delhi, Athens, Lisbon, Colombo, etc.

More information on the event can be obtained from www.fighthunger.org or the World Food Programme's official site www.wfp.org. People interested in participating in the walk can register at any of the TNT offices spread across town. For registration inquiries, those interested are requested to call 04-2109590 and 04-3681384.


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