Ethiopian running legend, Goodwill Ambassador Berhane Adere fundraising in run up to race
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and world class runner, Berhane Adere, today launched the Millennium Dream Campaign to raise one million birr ($116,000) for Ethiopian Orphans and Vulnerable Children through the Millennium Edition of the Great Ethiopia Run scheduled for 9 September 2007.
A total of 1,500 race entries are being made available for 250 Birr each for Dream Campaign participants. Runners still hoping to sign up for the 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) Millennium Run, billed as the largest road race on the African Continent, will join an estimated 30,000 participants, and help improves the lives of children.
“We are calling on the public to run for a cause and be part of making the dreams of Ethiopian children come true,” said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic Champion, Berhane Adere. “Sports can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life – I am living witness of that. Today we invite all runners in the Millennium Run to step up to the challenge and use their participation to mobilize support for less fortunate children.”
There are an estimated six million orphans in Ethiopia today, nearly one million have lost one or both parents to HIV and AIDS. The number of children on the streets of Ethiopian cities is estimated at 160,000, and is expected to grow. Many have no choice but to become child labourers, beggars or even sex workers in a bid to survive.
“In the past, orphans were covered by traditional coping mechanisms through extended family networks. These networks are being stretched to breaking point by the onslaught of the HIV epidemic,” said Bjorn Ljungqvist, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.
“While Government and development agents are doing their best to respond to the needs of these children, the extent of the problem requires the urgent response of all. This is the vision of the Dream Campaign, to foster a movement across all sectors of Ethiopian society that can help to ensure that children who have lost one or both parents to HIV or any other cause can be assured their basic rights to shelter, nutrition, health, education and protection.”
The Millennium Dream Campaign slogan is “I have a Dream...New Millennium, New Hope,” with all funds raised from the campaign going towards vocational training and livelihoods programmes for orphaned and vulnerable children.
“The upcoming Millennium Celebration provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the dreams and aspirations of Ethiopia’s orphaned and vulnerable children,” said Ljungqvist. “It is time for everyone to evaluate and act on what is required to make those dreams a reality in the new era we are ushering in.”
Members of the Ethiopian Scouts Association will be canvassing Addis Ababa over the coming two weeks soliciting participation in the Dream Campaign. Businesses, nongovernmental and civil society organizations as well as individuals will be requested to purchase race packs at a premium price of 250 Birr. In addition, runners will be asked to use their race participation to secure sponsorship and raise additional funds.
“Our dream is to reach the one million birr target by 9 September,” said 16-year-old Lidet Yoseph from the Ethiopian Scouts Association. “My friends and I call upon the public to open their doors when we come knocking. We will be raising funds for the Dream Campaign even after the Millennium Run, so please be ready for us throughout the Millennium year.”
UNICEF in partnership with the Ethiopian National Taskforce for Orphans and Vulnerable Children initiated the Dream Campaign at the 2005 Great Ethiopia Run where 185,000 Birr was raised and distributed to organizations working with orphans and vulnerable children in Gambella and Somali Regions. In 2006 the Dream Campaign raised 120,000 Birr. This amount will be combined with this year’s fundraising effort toward achieving the Millennium Dream Campaign’s Great Ethiopia Run target of one million birr.
UNICEF believes every child has the right to realize their full potential and supports training schemes that give children and their caretakers the ability to generate their own income and support themselves without being exploited.
UNICEF, in partnership with the Federal and Regional HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Offices, is presently supporting over 240,000 orphans in Ethiopia through micro-credit schemes that help families look after children in their home community.
To contact the Ethiopia Scout Association, please reach Mr. W.A. Davis, the International Commissioner through Tel: 0111564879 or 0911881749, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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