The efforts of a group of Upper Canada College students enabled the school to raise more money than any other in Ontario for the 32nd annual World Partnership Walk to help end global poverty.
The World Partnership Walk is organized by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, an international development organization and registered charity that donates all of the money raised from the walk to international development initiatives in more than a dozen developing countries. Funds also help the foundation to leverage additional support, including matching funds from such major donors as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
The Jessani family has been involved with the World Partnership Walk for several years, and UCC students Aalishan and Aalameen Jessani have done the walk for the past four years.
When Aalameen was at the Prep last year he approached guidance/health and life skills coordinator Jill Stewart and asked if he could start Team UCC for the walk. She went along with the idea and things got off to an impressive start.
“We had four students including myself participate and we raised awareness at the Prep by making a presentation in the assembly and raised funds at the Prep through a casual dress day,” says Aalameen.
“Independently, each of us approached extended family, friends of family, friends’ parents, parents’ contacts and individuals within the community. In all, last year we raised over $4,000 as Team UCC.”
Aalameen moved to the Upper School this year, where he captained a team, while his younger brother did the same at the Prep. Presentations were made during assemblies to maximize awareness and the Prep again raised funds through a casual dress day. The Jessani brothers’ father Qasim donated 110 dozen donuts to sell at both schools, with all of the proceeds going to the World Partnership Walk.
About 20 students from the Prep and Upper schools joined Team UCC this year and an initial fundraising goal of $8,000 was set. That target was far exceeded however, and the final total reached $20,301 from more than 180 donations, which made UCC the top school team for Toronto’s walk, which was held on May 29.
Six Team UCC members and Aafreen Jessani from The Bishop Strachan School, as well as other Jessani family members, walked and carried a UCC banner. They were recognized for their fundraising efforts and given a trophy for being top school team on stage at Metro Hall’s David Pecaut Square.
“Our parents wanted us to take part in the World Partnership Walk,” Aalishan said from the stage in this video. “They wanted us to build our muscles, our compassionate muscles. And today we have made them stronger.”
This year’s World Partnership Walk took place in 10 cities across Canada, and more than 40,000 walkers participated, including more than 10,000 from 138 teams in Toronto.