http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2012/03/30/running-for-orphans


Mountain View Voice

News - March 30, 2012

Running for orphans

Annual race and fair at St. Joseph raises money for Zimbabwe's poor

by Nick Veronin

This weekend, hundreds of people — from preschoolers to adults — will strap on their sneakers for The 13th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair.

The event, held at St. Joseph School in Mountain View on April 1, raises money for the Makumbi Children's Home — an orphanage in the African country of Zimbabwe.

Event organizer Ellen Clark said she expects about 400 to run in a number of races. There is a 220-yard race for preschoolers, a half-mile run for kindergartners and a number of mile-long races for first- through eighth-graders, high schoolers and adults.

A former P.E. teacher at St. Joseph, Clark first became interested in Zimbabwe when her son, also a teacher, went on a trip to the country to volunteer and the family stopped by for a visit.

The country is run by a despotic dictator, Robert Mugabe, and is suffering from a serious AIDS epidemic, Clark said. At last count there were more than 900,000 orphans in the country, according to a press release by Clark.

The races, which award prizes to the top finishers, are accompanied by a fair, which features music, food, art and other items of cultural significance from Zimbabwe. Despite all the bad news coming from the country, Clark's aim is to inspire young people and adults to see the beauty of Zimbabwe.

Clark is interested in promoting what she calls "two-way philanthropy." She hopes that while people are giving to Zimbabwe — a country in need — they are also taking as well, by enjoying the vibrant art and culture at the fair.

"This event is about the joy of Africa," Clark said. More information can be found at Clark's website, www.zimbabweparaguay.org.

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