11 a.m. on Sunday, May 25th, 2008
(Sunday, June 1st, in Ottawa & London)
Zee's notes: This Sunday the 24th Annual World Partnership Walk gets underway in major cities across Canada. It is simply mind boggling that this event which was started by a handful of ladies in Vancouver as a way for them to give back has morphed into a global event. The Canadian event alone has raised more than $40 million dollars to help raise the standard of living for millions in the Third World. To me the funds raised is not about giving money to the less fortunate - what is that they say give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day but teach him how to catch a fish and he'll eat for a lifetime - so the work that I see the AKF and FOCUS and all the Aga Khan Institutions achieve is that they provide the opportunity for the destitute to have hope for them and their children.
I remember going to Mumbai in 1996 with a group of 35 cricket mad enthusiasts to watch the World Cup of Cricket and what struck me was watching a family of 5 just outside our hotel. In the daylight the mom and dad would sit on the pavement waiting for handouts while the young kids played nearby. In the evening they would eat in the same place and at nightfall the five would huddle under a blanket and in the morning the same routine would restart - all 24 hours in the same corner. While this may disturb you but you have to remember that this family sees no hope for growth in their future and so every single day is another day to live and survive just to see another day.
So if you consider what the WPW is aiming to do and that almost 100% of the funds are used for programs to give families like the one I saw in Mumbai have a hope for their future then you can only give to your heart's desire and go to sleep satisfied that you were a part of giving that hope and hopefully one day that family will escape that corner of the pavement and their children will get educated and that for them life will hold the same promise as it does for you and me.
Now how many times do you give thanks that you ended up in a country like Canada - not only am I in awe every single day but moreso I cannot fathom the vision of looking a century ahead - simply something to think about in this year of the Golden Jubilee...