Pounding the pavement for vulnerable children

17 Loren walk 2

A 12-hour walk in suburban Auckland has raised $11,000 for NPH New Zealand, a charity that supports vulnerable children in nine countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The money raised from the walk on March 27 exceeded the initial target by $4000.

In a note sent out a month after the walk by NPH New Zealand managing director Loren O’Sullivan, she thanked everyone who walked or donated.

The walk, which was postponed from March 6 because of the Covid-19 lockdown in Auckland, started with 20 participants at 7am on March 27.

The walk was “definitely tough”, Ms O’Sullivan said.

“At the six-hour mark, I was ready to give up.”

But a “great team”, including a group from Carmel College, kept her going. After 12 hours, 12 walkers completed the walk.

“We were exhausted, but were grinning from ear to ear,” Ms O’Sullivan said, who admitted she suffered from heatstroke and the next day “was not easy”.

“It was . . . nothing compared to what people go through in the migrant caravans (in Latin America) – limited food and water, insecurity, carrying little ones or even harder, leaving them behind.”

Ms O’Sullivan said that the night before the walk, she tried to imagine what it would be like to leave her two-year-old son behind.

“It was too heart-breaking to contemplate,” she said.

In the first months of this year, several migrant caravans have set off from Honduras, with thousands of families, desperate to walk to the United States. They are reportedly trying to escape poverty worsened by the pandemic and natural disasters. The caravans have been confronted by authorities in different countries.

People on the Auckland walk were invited to “walk in their shoes”.

The next fundraising event for NPH New Zealand is a “High Tea for Haiti” on July 4. For more details, visit www.nphnz.org/events


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Michael Otto

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