Dubai Cares’ event highlights rigours faced by children in developing countries
On a breezy Friday morning, several dozens of families wearing sneakers stepped up to walk three kilometres for a good cause. Twins in matching pink track suits, classmates from school, cousins, relatives, neighbours — an entire community was out on the streets before breakfast. Fathers carrying their infant children on shoulders, children running around, balloons, colourful banners of sponsors, camera crews, and lots of cheering were part of the ambience.
“I ate two bananas before I came. Mama said I will need the energy and I can’t in the middle of the walk,” said eight-year old Asma, walking beside her mother Toufiq, who has been to the walk before but this was the first time for her daughter. “Last year I thought maybe the distance was too much for her, but she did fine today. I’m very happy.”
Asma and Toufiq were part of an 8,000-strong contingent of all ages and nationalities who walked for education.
The fifth edition of the annual three-kilometre walk was organised by Dubai Cares to underline the need for primary education in developing countries. The walk was held at Jumeirah Beach and led by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares.
In the post-walk celebrations that started at 10am, some people who hadn’t walked but wanted to be a part of the atmosphere joined in. Families and children gathered at Jumeirah Beach Park after the Walk and got a chance to get their faces painted at a face-painting booth. There were also a games arcade, children’s games, photo booth and performances by acrobats.
Addressing walkers, Al Gurg said, “Although our philanthropic work is based in developing countries around the world, the UAE community has always been our pillar of strength and support. Thanks to your constant generosity, in terms of time as well as funds, we have been able to reach over eight million children across 31 countries.”
Commenting on the fifth edition of Dubai Cares’ Walk for Education, Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State and Dubai Cares Chairperson, said: “As a community, we have constantly channeled our energies, not only into realising our own goals but also in empowering developing countries around the world. The strong turnout today is testament to the importance we as a community place on investing in youth, in the UAE as well as around the world, through quality education.”
The walk was organised to call attention to the rigours and challenges primary-age children in the developing world face in order to access education. On average, these children walk three kilometres every day to attend school.
One of the walkers, Latha Sivaprasad, said, “I have lived here for the past 30 years and feel a part of the local community. This is my way of giving back.”