How will “Running Changed My Life Foundation” work in order to support those in need?
The “Running Changed My Life Foundation” will work by providing children with training shoes and sports clothes, as well as help pay for their school fees, allowing them to pursue athletics and academics.
How did we know that the kids need some support?
I have been supporting 15-20 children in Rwanda (Kigali) in the past 6 years. I was able to collaborate with Canada Q-bank (an online medical test preparation service) and was able to organize races in Kigali each year. One-hundred to two-hundred children/adolescents attended the competitions, each placed in their respective categories: senior (men, women), junior (men, women), and midget (boys, girls). Every boy was given a ticket to return to their home, seeing as most of them were coming from other provinces. We gave the top 10 from each category cleaning materials (soap, basket, basin…), money for school-fees and materials for the following school year.
What are some challenges that we experienced during these years?
Every year at the competitions, we saw different children and never the ones from the previous years. This is in part due to the children’s parents who won’t let them continue training in their sport. We are very interested in following up with the winners and helping them along their path, however, the main problem seems to reside with their parents because they want them to do work around the house, e.g. cultivating fields, looking after their younger siblings, etc. As a result, these children aren’t able to continue their schooling and end up giving up on running altogether. I have witnessed this when I was young myself.
How will running resolve the problem?
I sat down with several of my colleagues, one of them being Vivian Stavrakos and I explained to her the problem I was facing. So we came up with the idea of creating a Foundation that we hope will be able to resolve this issue. We think it will be a good idea to talk to the children’s parents and stress the importance of education and the pursuit of athleticism. We would then ask them to allow their kids to live in a central building where they will be given food and shelter. While living there, their children will have access to schooling and training facilities. We will make sure that the seniors who finish school can be able to help the younger ones with their homework. Education is vital and a powerful tool that can help break the cycle of poverty. And as previously mentioned, children who engage in physical fitness at an early age are more likely to continue this trend as they get older, giving rise to good habits. Being physically active not only aids in one’s physical development but also aids in their mental development.
What makes “Running Changed My Life Foundation” so unique?
“Running Changed My Life Foundation” will proceed differently than other organizations. While most organizations take 20% of every dollar raised, my team and I will ensure that every dollar raised will be used to support the children in need. There will not be any bias towards the children selected to receive funds, giving everyone an equal chance of being supported and assisted. The Foundation will also visit schools and ask classmates if they know anyone who has dropped out of school or who has gotten kicked out due to the lack of money to pay school fees. We will visit children’s families as well in order to make sure that they are in real need of help. In addition, we will make sure that donors see how their charitable dollars are being used. Every dollar will be used to make a difference and will hopefully inspire donors to give more, giving rise to a positive perpetual cycle.