On September 20, 2011, students from Bladins International School in Malmö, Sweden, gave one hour of their day to fundraise – and run – for the Horn of Africa. Together, 380 children between the ages of 5 and 16 ran an astonishing 1802 kilometers and raised almost 1800 USD through sponsorships from family and friends. The funds will go to support the WFP’s work in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia and help children who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition in the region.
Students at Bladins International School in Malmö come from all over the world; they speak many different languages and have diverse cultural backgrounds. At school, they come together in relatively small classes where they are instructed in English and follow a curriculum that encourages them to become responsible and caring individuals.
This year, students and their teachers decided to use the annual autumn school jog as a vehicle for raising funds for the Horn of Africa by dedicating one hour of their day to do laps of a local sports field. Beforehand, the students had encouraged family members and friends to sponsor them for every lap they completed. The amount could be very small, as little as 25 US cents, but the intention was to recruit as many sponsors and run as many laps as possible.
Prior to the event, Caroline and Louise from the World Food Programme’s Nordic Office in Copenhagen had made a visit to the school to talk about the WFP and explain the current situation in the Horn of Africa. They arrived an early morning in September and were met by 150 curious students from the school’s middle year programme, eager to learn more about the work of the WFP around the world. In particular, they had a strong interest in hearing how the funds raised by the school could help saving the lives of children and fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa.
After the presentation, the students had the chance to look at different WFP food products, such as Plumpy‘Sup, which is a readymade peanut based product full of micronutrients often given to malnourished children. The students also tasted the nutritious BP5 energy bars, which are distributed by the WFP in cases of emergency and can be eaten as a biscuit directly from the pack, or crumbled into water and eaten as a porridge.
The presentation turned out to be a success and got the children highly motivated to find sponsors for the school jog.
When the day finally arrived, students from the entire school were ready to run for the Horn of Africa. Each had their own sponsors and was determined to raise money for children like themselves in another part of the world. They all ran for one hour and had a wonderful time while doing the good deed. Together, the students ran 1802 kilometers within one single hour and raised the equivalent of 1800 USD for the WFP. Afterwards, they were tired from the exercise but happy and proud.
The money raised by the students will feed 3600 children on the edge of survival in the Horn of Africa for a day. The initiative is inspiring to students all over the world and proves that a little can go a long way. Where there is will and good intentions, big accomplishments can be made.
Written by Louise Lykke Hvam, Public Information Officer, WFP Denmark