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The Great Ethiopian Run raises fund for orphans and vulnerable children

© UNICEF/Ethiopia/2008/Takagi
Jamilla, age 16, winner of the ‘Dream Campaign’ girls’ Mobility Cycle race greeting Swedish athlete Carolina Kluft after at the Great Ethiopian Run in Maskal Square.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 4 December 2008 - At the crack of dawn, 32,000 registered participants came together in Maskal Square to participate in Africa’s biggest 10 km road race – the Great Ethiopian Run. UNICEF and the Great Ethiopian Run have been partners for the past three years, committed to fighting HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.

The race continued its tradition of fundraising for orphans and vulnerable children through the ‘Dream Campaign’ by raising about 11,000 dollars for four charity homes for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.

The race kicked-off with a display of Ethio-Japanese dancing introduced by delegates from the Government of Japan.

© UNICEF/Ethiopia/2008/Takagi
Aberra, age 19, showing his trophy after successful finish of the 1.5 km Mobility Cycle race at the Great Ethiopian Run.

The Great Run received international media coverage by Super Sport, CNN, BBC World, Trans-World Sport, Gillette World of Sport, EuroSport and others.

The guests attending this year’s race include Sweden’s 2004 Olympic Heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft and Britain’s 5000m specialist Mo Farah, alongside a number of renowned Kenyan athletes.

2008 AIMS Children Series

In addition to the mass race on Sunday, around 3,000 youngsters aged 11 and under took part in the 2008 AIMS Children Series, which promote running for children in the developing world.

As part of the Dream Campaign, a 1.5 km Mobility Cycle race for children living with disabilities was organized by UNICEF in collaboration with the Mobility Without Barriers Foundation.

The organizer of the race, Haile Gebreselassie personally greeted each of the contestants.

Jamilla, 16, won the girls’ event and Aberra, 19, won the boy’s event. Awards were given by UNICEF Representative Bjorn Ljungqvist, accompanied by Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebreselassie and Swedish athlete Carolina Kluft after a successful finish.

“It is inspiring to see young people affected by disability given so much hope by something as simple as a Mobility Bicycle. Accessing schools and generating income as a result of these bikes is a cost effective and a humane response,” said Mr. Ljungqvist.

About Mobility Cycles

In Ethiopia, 98 per cent of young people with disabilities do not attend school, in part because of the dangers associated with using wheelchairs for long distances, or over rough ground.

Over the past two years, UNICEF has helped introduced the Mobility Cycle, a safer, more effective means of assisted mobility. As of November 2008, more than 600 young people in Ethiopia have been participating in UNICEF-supported Mobility for Education programme.

Over the next two years, 4000 more children in Ethiopia will receive a Mobility Cycle through a national intervention that will be launched in February 2009.

The initial concept and design for the high performance mobility cycle for landmine victims was introduced by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman during the ‘Long Way Down’ trip through Africa in 2006.





UNICEF correspondent Natacha Ikoli reports on the UNICEF-supported ‘Dream Campaign’ held during the Great Ethiopia Run in Addis Ababa.
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