Sports for Ethiopia catching second wind

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Last year, Rainbow for the Future, an NGO (non-governmental organization) based in Westlock that supports humanitarian projects in Ethiopia, organized the first-time Sports for Ethiopia 24-hour fundraiser.

It was a lot of fun for both organizers and participants and the money raised helped so many people. As such, it was decided to hold the event again in 2017.

The second annual Sports for Ethiopia fundraiser will be held at the Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre on Friday and Saturday, March 17-18.

The 24-hour event will again feature hockey, walking, running and this year, spinning/stationary bicycles.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday and go around the clock until 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The event will then be followed by a banquet and silent and live auction at the Westlock and District Community Hall, starting at 6 p.m.

Participants are asked to raise a minimum of $200, with a $50 registration fee. In turn, they get a ticket to the banquet, a T-shirt, a team or individual photo and concession snack.

Those who can’t or don’t wish to enter the fundraiser personally can pledge support to the participants.

As well, they can purchase a ticket for $30 to attend the banquet, which is featuring some terrific auction items, such as a riverboat cruise on the Athabasca River, an air flight over the Westlock area, riding lawn mower and many more, with all proceeds going to the cause.

And there are some fun things planned for the evening as well, which makes attending even more worthwhile.

Banquet tickets are available at the Rainbow for the Future office in Westlock at 10712 – 101 Street, or during the event at the Rotary Spirit Centre.

Rainbow for the Future chairman Leo Seguin has made several trips to Ethiopia to view work funded by the organization, including schools, technical schools, water projects, help for orphans, empowering women to gain self-employment and other humanitarian projects.

Seguin says he is often asked why helping people in Ethiopia is so important. Why not help those in need here at home in Canada?

In typical fashion, he states, “Poverty in Canada is like a sprained ankle. In Ethiopia, it is like a heart attack.”

In Canada, there generally is help available for those who need it; in Ethiopia, there is none, except for the work of organizations like Rainbow for the Future.

Seguin is proud to point out that over a number of years, the work of Rainbow for the Future has helped thousands of people in Ethiopia —at a fraction of the cost it would to help the same number of people in Canada.

And as he points out, the work of Rainbow has given a hand up to many, not just a hand-out.

Where some have had to rely on continued help through the work of Rainbow for the Future and others, many have become self-sufficient, able to care for the needs of themselves and their families.

Seguin said funds raised from this year’s event will provide clean drinking water to people living around the Koka Reservoir in Oromia in central Ethiopia.

The poisonously polluted water is killing children, yet people drink the water because they have no choice. It is the only water they have access to.

Access to safe water and sanitation is a human right, as recognized by the 2010 United Nations General Assembly.

Funds from the event will also go to the construction of a high school in the remote northern region of Tigray, in the far north of Ethiopia.

Every dollar helps, so if you don’t wish to participate, please consider sponsoring any of those involved, or just come down and watch the event and give a donation.

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