If you’re keen to improve your fitness – but need a little extra motivation – The Walk Of Hope is your perfect solution.
It’s a series of 8- to 10-kilometre walkathon events happening around Australia on Saturday, February 27, raising funds for Darlene Zschech’s international charity Hope Global.
By entering, not only will you be enjoying healthy walk – or run – with friends, you’ll also be supporting world-changing education programs in Africa and South East Asia.
Improving Kids’ Education Around The World
Event co-ordinator Paula Fasano is Hope Global’s Youth and Education Program Manager and has seen first-hand the life-changing work Hope Global is doing. She explained that Hope Global works to restore and rebuild existing education systems in places of need.
“Research shows that the most important element in a quality education is the teacher,” she said, “yet many teachers in developing countries lack the training and resources needed to provide this.
“As a result of our teacher training programs and funds raised from the Walk of Hope, thousands of children’s lives have been impacted.”
It All Started With Rwanda
Hope Global was the brainchild of Mark and Darlene Zschech in 2006, birthed out of their desire to make a difference in the devastated nation of Rwanda in aftermath of its 1994 genocide.
The organisation was originally named ‘Hope Rwanda – 100 Days Of Hope’, with volunteers taking 100-day trips to Rwanda to offer their time and talents to encourage and build the community.
“That’s now developed,” Paula explained, “and God has opened doors to new partnerships and work in new countries. Now we still do mission trips, but with long-term development goals in those countries.
“We send teams of 5 to 25 across Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Cambodia and India, and they take their professional skills, training people in things like early childhood, primary teaching, IT, English and community health. We have three-year project plans and those teams that visit have a purpose within those long-term plans.
“Previously we worked at a national and government level and now we work more grass-roots, with teachers and community leaders, to empower them in their roles to see education improved.”
Paula said that each of Hope Global’s international partnerships has come about in a very God-inspired way.
“We don’t have a recipe,” she said. “The partnerships have all come about through a connection we’ve made on the ground, a door that’s been opened, or someone who has approached us,” she said. “It’s amazing the connections God has given us.”
Through its God-appointed connections, Hope Global has made a difference in schools, preschools, teacher training colleges, church dioceses, and has even helped to co-write a curriculum for a Bachelor of Early Childhood in Rwanda, a nation that previously had no early childhood accreditation system.
How To Join A Walk Of Hope
There are three Walk Of Hope Walkathons happening on Saturday, February 27 in South Sydney, Far North Queensland and on the Central Coast.
The South Sydney walk is an 8km route from Oatley Park to Gannons Park and back. Walkers will meet at the front of Oatley Primary School at the Oatley Park gates, at 8.30am, and runners from 9.30am. The event will finish at 10.30am followed by coffee at Oatley West shops. Participants must pre-register by contacting Michelle on 0413132439.
The Central Coast walk is a 10km walk on the Central Coast Walking track at The Entrance, starting and finishing at Picnic Point Reserve. Register from 8am; the walk starts at 9am. Pre-register to order a free official Walk of Hope t-shirt. Bring a picnic rug or chairs to relax and enjoy the fun and festivities at the end of the walk, including food and drink, Hope Global resources, and live entertainment.
The Far North Queensland walk on the Atherton Tablelands will begin at 7am to get in ahead of the morning heat. For event details and registration email Robyn Lindsay, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on the Walk of Hope see walkofhope.org.au. Find out more about Hope Global’s International Projects, their Volunteer Opportunities, and their Youth Ambassadors program for students.