World Partnership Walk in Vancouver set for May 26

Around 100 Vancouver teams will participate in the 29th annual World Partnership Walk to raise funds and awareness to end global poverty. The walk, which partners the Canadian International Development Agency with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKFC), starts at Lumbermens Arch in Stanley Park May 26.

Dr. Ashnoor Nagji from team Downtown Community, Derek Gent from team Vancity, Dr. Hussein Shivji from team Asante Dental and Tatiana Mawani from team UBC United are four of the many fundraising teams at the annual walk, which attracts thousands of participants annually and last year raised $2 million.

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Nagji has raised more than $8,000.00 for education, economic and health projects carried out by the AKFC. As a family physician, shes been involved with humanitarian work in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Being able to see how it works on the other side is very interestingthe partnership is engaging and builds trust and long term relations with the communities, said Nagji.

She also works locally with public health programs in the Downtown Eastside.

Gent has raised $1,000 and is continuing to present to law firms for more sponsors. He and other employers of mobilizing teams have been involved.

A lot of the big consulting firms like Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and KPMG are regulars in having a big team said Gent.

Gents first connection with the AKFC was made in the mid-90s after being selected for a yearlong fellowship to do aid work with the organization in Bangladesh.

He said the year was a life-changing experience.

His work in Bangladesh focused on educating girls in the rural communities and providing very small loans to the poor.

The gratitude and [the girls] wanting to connect with you was a real inspiration for me, said Gent.

Gent is still actively involved with philanthropy. He leads the public charity, Vancity Community Foundation as executive director and serves on the national policy committee of Imagine Canada. He is also on the local advisory council for the AKFC.

In terms of international development, I focus on the Aga Khan, said Gent.

Shivjis involvement was triggered by his personal experiences from growing up in east Africa. The positive impact from the AKFC and hearing stories of development work in Dar es Salaam hospitals and schools brought him to this philanthropy.

100 per cent of the funds that I collect are used directly in developing countries, said the Yaletown dentist.

BC Seniors, Darkhana Community and Vancouver Downtown Community are among some of the top teams collecting this year. The active participation of schools and universities makes a significant contribution to the annual total.

Mawani has so far collected more than $2,000 and joined UBC United this year after co-captaining three years for her high school team.

My theory was always that if a high school team can do so much good, just imagine how much good a university team could do which ten times the amount of people, said Mawani.

UBC Meal Exchange is one of the biggest sources for fundraising. [It is] a club at UBC that aims to alleviate local hunger and ensure local food security, added Mawani.

The money raised will be put towards improving the quality of life in developing countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique and Tajikistan. AKFC supporters are working towards revitalizing rural economies, providing clean water and sanitation and education.

The event will start at 10 a.m.

For more information, see www.worldpartnershipwalk.com/Vancouver.

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