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Nearly 6,000 people complete a fundraising race to promote education for all in Argentina

© UNICEF Argentina/2011
School students kickstarted the 'Race for Education' event in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 31 March 2011 – Nearly 6,000 people participated in the fourth annual ‘Running for Education’ race earlier this month, setting a new attendance record as they showed their support for quality education for all children in Argentina.

The race, organized by UNICEF, aims to raise public awareness of a child’s right to an education and to mobilize families in support. At present, 20 per cent of children in low-income areas do not study, and 16 per cent of school-aged children drop out of class.

The right to learn

“We want to ensure that children not only go to school, but also complete their studies,” said UNICEF Representative in Argentina Andrés Franco. “The most important thing is that they learn.”

© UNICEF Argentina/2011
María O'Donnell and Marcelo Zlotogwiazda, well-known journalists, participate in the 'Race for Education' event held earlier this month in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ms. O'Donnell has run all four of the annual races with her children.

Almost $120,000 was raised from the race, and will be used to benefit more than 500 rural schools across the country. The money will go towards funding a project where students, families and teachers work together to self-evaluate the quality of education and create a plan for improving it.

Previous experience shows that this project is efficient in creating a democratic and evaluative culture in schools.

On the morning of the race, Palermo Woods, a huge park in Buenos Aires, was filled with runners of all ages wearing orange t-shirts, including journalists, government officials and celebrities.

UNICEF National Ambassador Julián Weich hosted the event, imploring the runners to, “make this race the best race of the year!” Before the race began, he also discussed UNICEF’s eventual aim of ensuring all children attend and complete school. The event is held in early March to coincide with the start of the school year.

Enthusiastic participants

The start of the race was kicked off by school students who ran the first 50 metres of the track with plenty of enthusiasm, and were applauded and cheered on by onlookers.

© UNICEF Argentina/2011
Large crowds turned out for the 'Race for Education' event in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“It was great,” said Victoria Tapia, 11, one of the runners. “This race is good because education is important for getting a good job in the future.”

Participants could run either a 3 or 7 km race, and along the route they symbolically completed the education cycle from year one until they reached the finish line, which represented graduation.

Mery Adriázola, 71, participated in the 7 km race. She said it was a great way to keep fit and contribute to an important issue at the same time. “I’ve been running for 22 years, and being able to participate for a good cause, such as education, is an opportunity to help people,” she said.

Lots of families also ran, including Valentín Jiménez, 9, and his father, Ricky Jiménez, who raced together. For them, running has been a way of working towards a personal as well as collective goal. “We’ve been training a lot together, and this is the first time that he’s going to run seven kilometres,” said Ricky before the race.

Their intensive training proved successful, with both father and son completing the ‘Running for Education’ race in 40 minutes.



Private-sector support

In addition to the Buenos Aires city government, the following private-sector companies supported the fourth annual ‘Running for Education’ race:

Ace Seguros
Mimo & Co.
MSC Cruceros

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