20 Canadian youths including an entire family are in the middle of an eight-day walk from Toronto to Ottawa to raise funds for the victims of Somali famine and create public awareness on this crisis in Canada and abroad. They have a target of raising $ 1 million during the walk.
The Horn of Africa region is gripped by a devastating famine that is threatening millions of lives. UN officials have said over 30,000 children have already died in famine-ravaged Somalia while 600,000 other malnourished children are on brink of starvation.
Determined to make a difference, the brave young Canadians continue to endure soggy, rainy weather and prolonged cold spells along the 400 kilometre route winding through 20 cities and towns as they push eastwards toward the national capital region.
In addition to raising funds and public awareness, the walkers want the Canadian government to constructively engage Somalia at state level by appointing a special envoy to guide Canada-Somalia policy. They are also calling for governmental and agency accountability in the delivery of aid.
Speaking to Digital Journal over the phone, Shadya Yasin, the logistics co-ordinator for Walk for Somalia provided latest updates on the ongoing walk.
“On Day 5, we have walked through Brighton, Trenton and Belleville and hope to continue with Day 6 through Napanee, Kingston and Gananoque. We are on track on arriving at Ottawa on Monday and expect to achieve our goals within the week” said Shadya.
Since the Monday, September 19th kick off, the team of young Canadians has walked through the cities and towns of Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Courtice, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Port Hope, Clarington, Cobourg, Brighton, Trenton and Belleville.
With Napanee, Kingston and Gananogue scheduled for Day 6, the walkers will then embark on the final stretch by going through Brockville, Prescott and Kemptville before arriving at the final destination in Ottawa on Monday, September 26th.
The gloomy weather has not dampened the spirit of the walkers who are determinedly committed and remain in good health.
“Other than blisters and a couple of muscle pulls and hamstrings here and there, we are all in good shape. Despite the continuing cold and damp weather, the walkers are in good spirit and look forward to completing the walk on Monday” an upbeat Shadya said.
The Canadian youths received support on the way as high school students in the Ajax area expressed their solidarity by walking with them to the Lake side area of the town.
Abdiqani Farmajo, an organizer of the walk, hailed the Walk for Somalia team for their bravery and dedication to the cause and further emphasized their role as young Canadians seeking to make a difference.
“We are a team of Canadian youths who speak as Canadians. These 20 brave young Canadians are very conscious and are consistently engaged about Canada and Somalia.”
The massive walk is generating a lot of public interest. Just interviewed by the Voice of America (VOA), Abdiqani said that “from Toronto to New York to Mogadishu, people everywhere are excited about this walk”.
Abdiqani also acknowledged Canadian generosity toward this cause:
“The Canadian public has been generous and is truly engaged in this cause. They are more than willing to help out and are very supportive.”
A rousing welcome awaits the heroic walkers at the outskirts of Ottawa as well-wishers there will amass at the Capital’s City limits to receive them as they complete the historic walk on Monday afternoon.
For more information, Please visit:
Walk for Somalia Website:
Walk for Somalia on Twitter: