Hundreds of supporters of Derry charity Children in Crossfire will take part in a midnight walk on the city’s Peace Bridge hours after its official opening tomorrow.
Children in Crossfire is having a very real impact on the lives of youngsters thousands of miles away in Africa.
Saturday’s midnight walk has been organised by a group of local people, who were so inspired by projects funded by the charity when they visited Tanzania, that they decided to step up their efforts to raise both funds for and awareness of Children in Crossfire’s work in the developing world.
One of the group who travelled to Tanzania is Strabane woman Geraldine Kielty, who works as a nurse in the Donegal Hospice in Letterkenny.
She said: “We tossed around a few different ideas for novelty fundraising events and came up with a midnight walk around midsummer night.
“With the official opening of the new Peace Bridge on June 25 just a couple of days after midsummer, we thought a walk across the Peace Bridge would be ideal.
“Children in Crossfire was founded by Richard Moore who is internationally acknowledged to be an inspirational champion of reconciliation and children’s rights.
“The new iconic Peace Bridge physically and psychologically unites both sides of the city making it an ideal route for the inaugural dander for Children in Crossfire.
“We’d like to make the dander an annual event and are encouraging everyone to get involved in what will be the first of many midnight midsummer danders for Children in Crossfire. Since it’s a midnight walk, pyjamas are optional!”
Ilex’s packed programme of events to mark the official opening of the Peace Bridge includes a Fireworks Extravaganza at 10.30 pm on Saturday.
Anyone who’d like to take part in the Midnight Dander should assemble at Sainbury’s car park, Strand Road after the fireworks.
The dander will follow a route along the river, across the Peace Bridge to St Columb’s Park and back across the footbridge again finishing at Sainsbury’s carpark.
Geraldine explained that money raised by the Midnight Dander will be used by Children in Crossfire to support projects like the children’s cancer ward in Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
“Before the new ward opened earlier this year, children with cancer were treated at Ocean Road Cancer Institute which, according to Irish doctor and paediatric oncologist Dr Trish Scanlon, was totally unsuitable.
The new ward, which has been part funded by Children in Crossfire, is making a huge difference to the care of sick children.
Another important aspect of fundraising events like the midnight dander is raise awareness about the development work and lobbying that charities like Children in Crossfire do”.
Children in Crossfire is currently involved in an education programme called 5:50:500, said Geraldine.
“Every year for the past 10 years, voluntary aid given to the developing work has amounted to at least $5 billion. Every year for the past 10 years official government aid to the development world has amounted to at least $50 billion.
“The stark reality is that every year for the past 10 years, the developing world loses an average of $500 billion as a result of the current unjust international economic system.
“Basically for every $55 billion in voluntary and official government aid that the Rich World gives to the Poor World, $500 billion is transferred in the opposite direction, we give $55 billion but take $500!
Geraldine explained that poorer countries like Tanzania are caught in a cycle of poverty and charities like Children in Crossfire are working to educate people at home about the injustices. She said we can all do something to help.
“Every little helps – for example buying Fairtrade products or lobbying politicians for changes in trade policy. We all have a part to play.”
If you would like to take part in the Midsummer Midnight Dander for Children in Crossfire, please contact JR McLaughlin at Children in Crossfire, telephone 7126 9898, email firstname.lastname@example.org