Volunteers from the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF), the BCMA-Masjid Al-Salaam and Education Centre, the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society (KAFS), and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS) were among those walking in Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, B.C. last Sunday to support children’s programs in Gaza and First Nation communities in British Columbia.
IDRF’s goal is to raise between $20,000 to $30,000, with proceeds being split equally between an IDRF children’s project in Gaza, and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society whose programming provides mental health supports and counselling services for survivors of the residential school system.
In addition to IDRF, VAFCS and KAFS, the Tk’emlúps to Gaza walkathon is being supported by a variety of charitable organizations including the Foundation for a Path Forward which is the official faith-based community convener for B.C., the Muslim Association of Canada whose Vancouver chapter will be attending, Pakistan Canada Association, Masjid Al-Hidayah and Muslim Scouts of Canada.
“We hope this inaugural walk of friendship with our aboriginal and Muslim partners will become an annual event in support of children’s causes at home and abroad,” said Ali Haidar, IDRF Community Development Manager for Canada West. “There is no better cause than supporting the healthy development of our children.”
The walkathon’s name is drawn from the people and regions that will benefit from the proceeds. The Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (Tk’emlúps for short) are members of the Interior-Salish Secwe̓pemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples who occupy a vast territory of the interior of British Columbia. Gaza is a self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.