World Partnership Walk in Vancouver a Huge Success

More than 7,500 people took part in the 29th annual World Partnership Walk in Stanley Park on Sunday in which $ 1.75 million were raised towards removing world poverty. The walk began and ended at Luberman’s Arch in Stanley Park.

The money raised from the walk ($1.75 million) has been earmarked for projects throughout Asia and Africa, such as in-factory daycares for textile workers in Bangladesh.

“The funds raised in Canada in the last five years helped 9,000 children get a better start at early-child education,” said Shakeel Bharmal, director of operations for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, which organized the walk.

Without the intervention, “those children end up staying at home and they are not getting stimulated intellectually. And 47 per cent of those children will actually drop out of primary school,” said Bharmal.

“So by having an early childhood education centre actually in the factory, children go to work with their mothers, then they graduate and go to primary education centres … and then by seven or eight the chances of them actually succeeding in primary school have tripled.”

The walk, which attracted almost 40,000 Canadians in 10 cities last year, started in Vancouver 29 years ago and is now one of the largest single-day fundraising events in the country.

The success of the walk is attributed to the effectiveness of the foundation in leveraging the funds raised.

“One hundred per cent goes to the cause; that is the most important thing,” said Zahir Karim, a longtime supporter and fundraiser of the walk. “People understand how the funds are used and the benefits of those funds. It’s just phenomenal, incredible.”

The Aga Khan Foundation has field offices in communities around the world, so solutions are generated at the local level, said Bharmal.

Since it began in 1985, the walk has raised more than $75 million to fight global poverty.