Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageYouth Walk from Toronto to Ottawa to Raise Funds for Homeland Special

By Farid Abdulhamid     Sep 20, 2011 in World
Toronto - One of the biggest walks in recent Canadian memory kicked off at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario, shortly after noon on Monday, September 19th 2011.
The Walk for Somalia campaign will see young Somali-Canadian walkers hit the tarmac through 20 Canadian cities and towns to cover 400 Kilometers over eight days on their way to Ottawa, their final destination. It has a target of raising 1 million dollars for the victims of the Somali famine as well as create public awareness on what the United Nations (UN) has declared “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.”
The massive walk has produced the most powerful promotional material ever, as organizers send across the message of “walking for every man, woman and child who have been denied their basic human rights in Somalia” and “to advocate and bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Somalia” as well as “walking in solidarity with millions of Somalis who have been affected by the famine.”
The young activists are also “walking for every parent who has lost a child or a loved one fleeing the hunger” and are determined “to revive and restore the dignity that has been robbed of the Somali people for the last two decades”.
The eight -day walk ends at 2 p.m. on Monday, September 26th at Bayshore Drive and Carling Avenue in Ottawa. The goals of the walk are:
To raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis
To ask the federal government to extend the donation matching period (to embolden Canadian generosity)
To raise $1,000,000
To ask for government and agency accountability in the delivery of aid.
The Toronto to Ottawa  eight-day walk kicks off at Nathan Phillips Square outside the Toronto City H...
The Toronto to Ottawa, eight-day walk kicks off at Nathan Phillips Square outside the Toronto City Hall.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Over 12 million people in the Horn of Africa region are affected by the famine with Somalia being the hardest hit nation. Thousands of Somalis walk every day across the Somali desert under scorching heat in search of help in refugee camps located in neighbouring countries. The majority of these people end up in the Dadaab camp, the largest refugee settlement in the world located in northern Kenya where arrivees are cramped in squalid conditions.
For the kick off ceremony of the historic Toronto-Ottawa Walk, community leaders, well wishers and local politicians arrived at Nathan Phillips Square as early as 8:00am to show their solidarity for the walkers who in the early goings through the Toronto-Pickering corridor, braved long spells of a soggy weather as they walked drenched in pouring rain throughout Monday afternoon and evening.
“It is encouraging to see the youth embark in a walk that symbolizes the tedious walks for survival that Somalis affected by famine go through each and every day” said Faduma Mohamed, a prominent community leader and the Executive Director of Labour Community Services.
Dr. Cadigia Ali, a local politician and renowned activist who has donated toward the current Walk for Somalia as she did in the 2009 Toronto Walk, was at hand to lend her support to the Somali youth.
“I am glad to be here to support our youth morally and financially as they embark on this walk. The youth always call me whenever they undertake in such initiatives and as a leader, I always give them advice. They have my 100% support in everything they do” said Dr. Cadigia.
Councillor Joe Mihevc of Ward 21  St. Paul s West  waves as he arrives at the Walk for Somalia kick ...
Councillor Joe Mihevc of Ward 21, St. Paul's West, waves as he arrives at the Walk for Somalia kick off ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Councillor Joe Mihevc is greeted by Abdiqani Farmajo  a Walk for Somalia organizer as he joins the p...
Councillor Joe Mihevc is greeted by Abdiqani Farmajo, a Walk for Somalia organizer as he joins the public at the Kick off ceremony.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Councillor Mihevc chats with community leaders  Dr. Cadigia Ali  right and Faduma Mohamed  second ri...
Councillor Mihevc chats with community leaders, Dr. Cadigia Ali, right and Faduma Mohamed, second right and youth from the Walk for Somalia campaign.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Dr. Cadigia has tirelessly rallied City Hall and Municipal politicians to support initiatives in her community. Invited to the kick off ceremony by Dr. Cadigia, Councillor Joe Mihevc addressed the public and said that “whenever the world suffers, Toronto always feels the pain” adding that “Whether it was the tsunami in East Asia or the current hunger in East Africa, it is great to see people take the initiative for their causes. It is a wonderful gesture for the people in our City to show support as Toronto itself is a community of nations” said Councillor Mihevc.
Youth organizers have underscored the significance of the walk, calling upon Canadians to rally behind this noble cause.
“We look forward to the Walk and I hope that the people of Canada assist us to reach our goal of raising 1 million dollars. We are planning to reach thousands of Canadians and it is important for us Canadians to take the lead role on what is happening in Somalia” said Shadya Yasin, the logistics coordinator for Walk for Somalia.
The 400 Kilometre route covered by the Walk for Somalia team spanning 20 cities and towns during the...
The 400 Kilometre route covered by the Walk for Somalia team spanning 20 cities and towns during their September 19-26 walk from Toronto to Ottawa.
Image: Google/Walk for Somalia
Walkers hit downtown Toronto streets at the start of the historic Toronto-Ottawa Walk.
Walkers hit downtown Toronto streets at the start of the historic Toronto-Ottawa Walk.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Walkers make a brief stopover at Dundas Square  Toronto.
Walkers make a brief stopover at Dundas Square, Toronto.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Steve Watson, a retired staff member of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) said that he was supposed to be walking with the youth but was held back by some unforeseen circumstances. “I like what the youth are doing and the reason I am here is to wish them well” said Mr. Watson.
Abdiqani Farmajo, a Walk for Somalia organizer, is encouraged by ongoing mass mobilization by the Somali youth and is very optimistic of Somalia’s political future.
“We should take leadership of our issues and shouldn’t wait for others to lead us. As far as Somalia is concerned, I can see a paradigm shift in Toronto as young people who have been here for 20 years are now university educated with MAs or PhDs. They constitute the right leadership that will bring positive change. There is no more apathy as they are actively taking actions. I see nothing but good things in the future” observed Abdiqani.
Also at hand to lend support and inspire the youth was Antar, the former Somali international soccer hero whose sporting accomplishments are widely celebrated by the Global Somali community.
Shadya Yasin and Aziza at Nathan Phillips Sqaure.
Shadya Yasin and Aziza at Nathan Phillips Sqaure.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Istar  5  and Samia  3  getting ready for the walk.
Istar, 5, and Samia, 3, getting ready for the walk.
Photo: Awsame Mohamed
Shadya reaching out for her smartphone; time for twitter and facebook updates.
Shadya reaching out for her smartphone; time for twitter and facebook updates.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
From Left: Ige  Shadya and Abdiqani strategize as the walk goes through downtown Toronto streets.
From Left: Ige, Shadya and Abdiqani strategize as the walk goes through downtown Toronto streets.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Walkers getting ready to hit the long road to Ottawa. Antar  the much celebrated former Somali inter...
Walkers getting ready to hit the long road to Ottawa. Antar, the much celebrated former Somali international soccer star (in blue shirt), holds Hanad, the 8 months old infant who has made history by becoming the youngest member ever of a major trans-cities walk in Canada.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Hodan Yusuf posing with little Samia  3.
Hodan Yusuf posing with little Samia, 3.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Hanad  the 8 months old member of the Walk for Somalia (Toronto-Ottawa)  waves to the Camera as dad ...
Hanad, the 8 months old member of the Walk for Somalia (Toronto-Ottawa), waves to the Camera as dad Abdifatah looks on. Hanad has made history by becoming the youngest member ever to participate in a long distance, trans-cities walk in Canada.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
From left: Hodan Yusuf  Shadya Yasin  Hanan  and Ige are all smiles as they get ready for the histor...
From left: Hodan Yusuf, Shadya Yasin, Hanan, and Ige are all smiles as they get ready for the historic walk.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Walkers on their way to Ajax City Hall.
Walkers on their way to Ajax City Hall.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Arrival at the town of Ajax.
Arrival at the town of Ajax.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Arrival at Pickering.
Arrival at Pickering.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Taking rest after a long day of walk.
Taking rest after a long day of walk.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Time for refreshments.
Time for refreshments.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Faduma speaking to a young walker at the Nathan Phillips Square.
Faduma speaking to a young walker at the Nathan Phillips Square.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Hodan Yusuf brings refreshments. Standing right is Noordin  an aspiring young journalist.
Hodan Yusuf brings refreshments. Standing right is Noordin, an aspiring young journalist.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Faduma (right)  Dr. Cadigia (second right)  Hodan Yusuf (background in blue head scarf) and Hanan.
Faduma (right), Dr. Cadigia (second right), Hodan Yusuf (background in blue head scarf) and Hanan.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Awesame Mohamed  Walk for Somalia s professional photographer displaying his campaign T-shirt shortl...
Awesame Mohamed, Walk for Somalia's professional photographer displaying his campaign T-shirt shortly before kick off.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
Shadya Yasin  the logistics co-ordinator for Walk for Somalia speaking to the media at Nathan Philli...
Shadya Yasin, the logistics co-ordinator for Walk for Somalia speaking to the media at Nathan Phillips Square. Looking on is Steve Watson, a retired staff member of CAW.
Photo: Awesame Mohamed
For more information, please visit:
Walk for Somalia Website
http://walkforsomalia.ca
Walk for Somalia on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/WalkForSomalia
Farid Omar can be reached at : faridoma@gmail.com
More about Walk for Somalia, Somali Canadians, Somalia
More news from
Latest News
Top News