Running for a quality education for all
Buenos Aires, 13 March 2011 - Close to 6,000 people -a new record- participated in the “Running for Education” race, showing their support for quality education for all children in Argentina. For the fourth consecutive year, the race was organized by UNICEF in order to raise public awareness of children’s right to education and to mobilize families.
UNICEF‘s education program in Argentina, aims to enhance the quality of education, and ensure all children attend and complete school. Today, 20 percent of children in low-income areas don’t study, and 16 percent of school-age children drop out. The funds raised from the race will go toward funding a project on self-evaluation, where students, families and teachers work together using a self-evaluation instrument in order to analyze the quality of education and to create a plan for its improvement.
“We want to ensure that children not only go to school, but also complete their studies. The most important thing is that they learn”, said Andrés Franco, UNICEF’s Representative in Argentina. The funds raised from the race reached almost US$120,000, and will benefit more than 500 rural schools around the country. Previous experience shows that this project is efficient in creating a democratic and evaluative culture in the schools.
On the morning of the race, the Palermo parks in Buenos Aires were filled with runners of all ages wearing orange T-shirts, as well as journalists, authorities and celebrities. UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, Julián Weich, hosted the event and talked about the aim of getting all children to complete their education and he heartily encouraged all the participants from the stage: “Let’s make this race the best race of the year!”
Sharing a love for sports and education, the energy was truly positive. The start of the race was kicked off by state school students who ran the first 50 metres of the track with plenty of enthusiasm, and they were applauded and cheered by onlookers. Victoria Tapia, 11, was one of the runners. “It was great! It’s the second year I’ve run, and it went well,” she said. “This race is good because education is important for getting a good job in the future.”
Running either a three- or seven-kilometre race, participants symbolically completed the education cycle from year one until graduation, with the finish line symbolizing graduation. One of the participants in the 7km race was Mery Adriázola, 71. “I’m doing this because I like running. 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 were also running together, such as Valentín Jiménez, 9, and his dad Ricky Jiménez. For them, running has been a way of spending time with each another, as well as working on a goal. “We’ve been training a lot together, and this is the first time that he’s going to run seven kilometres”, said Ricky. And his hard work training gave him the result he wanted. Both father and son completed the race in 40 minutes.
The race had the private sector’s support and participation: Ace Seguros, Cablevisión, Carrefour, Chevrolet, Clarín, Disney, Edding, Gatorade, Goodyear, Mimo & Co, MSC Cruceros, OCA, PepsiCo and Pritt. Support was also given by Buenos Aires City Government.
For more information:
María José Ravalli, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Argentina
Tamar Hahn, email@example.com, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
UNICEF is on the ground in over 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.