Former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, Sunday June 5, 2022 joins thousands at the Street Child Makeni Marathon. Street Child is an international charity organization that supports some of the most vulnerable children.
Makeni is the centre of Street Child’s operations where it has two operational centres since its establishment in 2008. The organisation works with 120 children every year – 60 boys and 60 girls divided between the two centres – offering them education, regular meals, clothing and medical facilities in a safe environment away from the streets.
“We believe every child deserves the chance to go to school and learn, says Street Child on their website
They also believe that there is a link between education and a better life. “We believe that basic education is the single greatest step that can be taken towards the elimination of global poverty.,”
One of its key activities is its annual 42km Marathon which attracts participants around the world. But the organizers say “no one needs to run the full 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km are perfectly fine as well”.
Sunday’s event marks the 10th Anniversary of the marathon which “is a fantastic six-day adventure that would give you the opportunity to challenge yourself and experience Sierra Leone’s culture while doing something good,” says Street Child.
According to the organizers, the run or walk, depending on what the individual prefers takes place “on bumpy unpaved roads, along villages, through the jungle…” and participants “are warmly welcomed by Sierra Leoneans throughout.
Through the Marathon, Street Child fundraises to finance its charity work. At the same time it encourages interested persons outside Sierra Leone to do a fundraising campaign in whatever creative way they could before they come to Sierra Leone.
“We can assure you 100% that the money goes directly into our projects. This is why it is very important for us to give you the opportunity to visit Street Child’s projects while you are there.This is not only a chance to see how Street Child works with its local partners, but it also provides you the possibility to get in touch with the local community. Moreover, you would travel through lush green landscapes, meet children who live in rural areas, sing and dance with locals. Every day will be a new adventure. Beautiful Sierra Leone,” says Street Child
It also says that, depending on the individual’s budget, there are different accommodation options in Makeni they could choose from. “It goes from staying in a very basic place with a bucket shower and shared dorm to a high standard hotel with all you need. Everything is possible!And either way: It will be an adventure you will never forget at the finish line.”
The Sierra Leonean statesman has been participating at this event even while he was sitting President. In fact, it was he who launched the event in 2018. “It’s so refreshing being part of such an extraordinary physical exercise with a community of people of all ages in support of the extraordinary humanitarian work of StreetChild charity. I’m truly pleased to be associated with it,” said former President Koroma.
This year’s Marathon brought together several high profile runners/walker’s including the British High Commissioner in Sierra Leone, Lisa Chesney.
“The Street Child Marathon provides a unique opportunity to interact directly with the great people of Makeni and it’s environs, as well as so many people from other parts of the country and the world. Superb to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen being part of an event that’s rooted in empathy, care, love and concern for the welfare of others; values that characterise her reign,” said the High Commissioner.
The exercise started around 5 AM and ended around 8:45 AM