Giving Hope to 7 Billion People With a Smile and a Loving Heart!
That was the slogan for the relay of walkathons hosted by the International WeLoveU Foundation in Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea and now here in the United States. The New Life Family Walkathon that Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah has organized annually for the past two decades in Seoul is now taking place in multiple countries around the world. Each one bearing the same purpose in mind: to console those seriously affected by the devastating climate disasters in Mozambique.
Earlier this year, two cyclones—Idai and Kenneth—slammed the country in Southern Africa back to back, leaving it to put itself back together during this humanitarian crisis. It’s reported that subsequent flooding destroyed $1 billion of infrastructure. On top of the country’s fragile framework and people’s lives turned upside down, animals are also suffering as a result of these disasters.
Saddened by the news of climate disaster, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah dedicated the 23rd New Life Family Walkathon in the United States to help those in Mozambique. Together, our steps can translate to love, life, and harmony to those undergoing present difficulties.
We Are Here for You, Mozambique!
On the bright morning of Sunday, July 28, 2019, approximately 2,500 participants checked in, ready to walk! Activity booths with interactive and fun games made it easy for everyone to learn about the 17 Global Goals including a WeLoveU original comic about how to implement the SDGs in daily lives. In addition to supporting Mozambique, WeLoveU launched the #AIMfortheGoals campaign to raise awareness about the SDGs that were established to protect our planet.
Before the opening address, there was time for a couple of performances by the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers. There were two dance pieces: one dedicated to Mozambique and another one fostering camaraderie to take care of our world together. The last performance was the WeLoveU theme song.
A Special Spotlight on Our Speakers
Right when the guest speakers took the stage, everyone was in for a special surprise visit by U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 10th congressional district—Donald Payne Jr. Given the Congressman’s tight schedule before the August recess, everyone from the President of WeLoveU to the guest speakers and all 2,500 guests were honored to have an opportunity to hear from the U.S. Representative. Not to mention, Liberty State Park in Jersey City where this year’s walkathon was held is included in Congressman Donald Payne Jr.’s district!
The President of the WeLoveU Foundation then took to the podium after Congressman Donald Payne Jr.’s surprise visit. His introductory message reminded all participants of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah’s message that we are one family living in a big home called ‘Earth.’
Therefore, as a global family, we must encourage and serve one another with the heart of a mother. This was the perfect introduction for the Ambassador of Mozambique Carlos Dos Santos followed by UN DGC Representative Felipe Queipo.
“It’s a sense of joy and appreciation for the kind of solidarity to say, ‘Mozambique and Mozambicans, you are far away, but we are with you. We want to support you; we want to help you.'” – Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos
The next following speakers that the WeLoveU Foundation had a privilege to have speak at the 23rd New Life Family Walkathon was Climate Reality Project Leader Tim Guinee, and Lindsey Prowse from the French-American Chamber of Commerce. The more each speaker presented about the effects of climate change, the importance of an individuals role in tackling it, and so on, the moral of the volunteers were heightened as they anticipated to walk for such a meaningful cause.
One, Two, Three—Let’s Walk!
By the early afternoon, all 2,500 participants comprised of family, friends and local officials met at the starting line. On the count of three, everyone began taking their steps one by one in support of Mozambique.
To stay hydrated all-day long, all who registered received a glass water bottle. A water sponsor provided free water for volunteers to refill their bottles frequently without using plastic bottles. Reducing plastic use is good for us and our planet. In addition, a majority—if not all—carpooled for this event. Having fewer cars on the road means carbon emissions are reduced and our air quality improves.
It was a pleasant afternoon across from the New York City skyline. Families and friends had opportunities to catch up and talk together while participating in a wonderful cause. Through the volunteers efforts, WeLoveU hopes those in Mozambique can feel refreshed and comforted knowing there are people supporting them from across the globe.
Click below to read about the relays of walkathons that took place this year!