From starting point to finish line, Mahmood Ladhani figures the World Partnership Walk in Vancouver will cover about five kilometres – just a good stretch of the legs, really, on what he hopes will be a beautiful spring day.
It’s amazing how far those five short kilometres can carry the good intentions of the thousands of walkers who are expected to show up at Stanley Park on May 27.
“The money raised from the walk Walk will go to poor communities in Asia and Africa, where it will be used for things like educating women and children, ensuring clean water and sanitation systems, and helping rural communities become self-sustaining,” says Mr. Ladhani, a World Partnership Walk champion who rallies his co-workers at BMO Bank of Montreal in Vancouver to join the annual event, organized by Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
“To know you’re making a difference in the lives of people on another continent – that’s pretty powerful,” says Mahmood Ladhani.
Started 27 years ago by a group of volunteers in Vancouver, the World Partnership Walk has expanded to 10 cities in five provinces across Canada. To date, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have taken part, raising more than $70 million for international development programs.
Money for the Walk comes from donations made by walkers’ friends and family members, as well as from corporate sponsors. BMO has been participating in the walk since 2007 at the team and corporate sponsor level. To date, the bank has donated close to $65,000 through its walk teams, and another $65,000 through corporate sponsorship. BMO is also a major supporter of the AKFC International Fellowship Program, which helps young Canadians gain experience in international development.
“I work for a great organization that’s very giving,” says Mr. Ladhani, who plans to walk this year with his wife, nine-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.
Most people get to the finish line in about an hour, says Mr. Ladhani, but many stay until well into the afternoon to enjoy the food, entertainment and camaraderie. A lot of participants and spectators also spend time at the Global Village, where they can learn about the people and communities they’re helping.
“There are actually people at the Walk who are directly involved in the development work that the Aga Khan Foundation does in these communities, “ says Mr. Ladhani. “They can tell you about the experiences they’ve had and how they’ve seen the difference that the Walk has made in thousands of people’s lives.”
Ready to walk the Walk?
This year, the World Partnership Walk is taking place in 10 cities across Canada on the following dates:
May 27: Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria
June 3: London, Montreal, Regina
June 10: Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa
To learn how you can create or join a team, sponsor a participant, or get your company involved, visit www.worldpartnershipwalk.com