Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Great Run: sports helping society

Just over a million birr to train orphan children in academic, social and life skills was generated from the Great Ethiopian Run (GER) and the United Nations who handed over a check to the Kechene and Kebebe Tsehay institutional care facilities on Thursday April 12, 2012.

The money that was donated was raised in connection with the 2011 Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) Great Run for their joint “Running for a child” fundraising campaign to the two selected beneficiaries. For the 11th staging of the International 10Km Run, the “Running for a Child” campaign target was to raise one million birr for social protection and welfare projects for children, including those operated by Kebebe Tsehay and Kechene Institutional care. The target was exceeded in 2012.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Eugene Owusu, Great Run Board Chairman Haile Gebreselasse, Bezunesh Meseret, Head of the Ministry of Women Children and Youth affairs and others were present at the event that was held at the compound of the Kechene Institutional Care.
“There are a lot of kids without parents or with parents who can’t afford to take care of them, that’s why these institutions are crucial to the society. Usually, it’s the government or NGOs that are working in the area of children and who get involved in this kind of venture, but others should also get involved like the Great Ethiopia Run has done,” stated Bezunesh Meseret.
“We are very happy to receive the money. It will be used for expansion of the kindergarten and other projects,” said Wubenat Birara, Coordinator at the Kechene Institutional care. The institution was established in 1952. When it started it had only 15 children, but now it has 300 children between the ages of 8 up to 18.
The other beneficiary Kebebe Tsehay institutional care is also a government institution that was established in 1965; it has 150 children between the ages of one up to eight. “There are a lot of things that we need to work on at the institution, the money we received today will help us a great deal,” stated Membere Gebrel, Coordinator at Kebebe Tsehay Institutional Care.
The United Nations and the Great Ethiopian Run remain committed to working together to raise public awareness about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Ethiopia’s progress towards the achievement by the goal target date which is 2015. With less than four years left before the deadline set by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the UN is globally focusing on supporting developing countries to narrow the gap to meet the MDG Goals, which is the slogan adopted by the UN in Ethiopia for its awareness raising campaign.
“We are very happy with our partnership with the Great Run, and to be here to hand over the money that was raised is a great honor. Ethiopia is working very hard to meet the MDG goals and will probably achieve all eight by 2015,” stated Eugene.
Haile Gebreselasse who was present at the event said that when the idea of Great Ethiopian Run was conceived it wasn’t just for the sake of running, it was also to raise awareness about different social issues. 
“Sport for Success” is another project by GER that involves 30 youth from Kechene Institutional Care that are assigned two coaches to train them in fitness. The idea is to help the youth build confidence, teamwork, fitness and other important life building skills.
Since 2005, the Great Ethiopia Run and the United Nations have been raising funds for local charitable organizations, with nearly three million Ethiopian Birr which is equivalent to USD 170,000 raised to date for a dozen beneficiary charities. In the lead-up to the 2012 GER International 10 Km Race, the annual fundraising campaign, united under the “Running for a Child” banner, will gather contributions for child focused social protection and welfare programs operated by selected Ethiopian organizations.
2012 CBE Great Ethiopian Run participants are encouraged to join the “Running for a Child-Narrow the Gap to Meet the MDG Goals,” campaign by using their race participation to raise sponsorship. Beneficiaries for this year will be selected soon and announced in September 2012.