When I joined ORBIS Ireland as development manager in October of this year, my first project was to organize and accompany twenty-three ORBIS Ireland board members and supporters to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run on November 23, 2008.
The twenty-three runners came from various walks of life; a number of them are ORBIS Ireland board members or their friends, and some supporters heard about the run through an advertising campaign. The participants all had one thing in common–-a desire to support ORBIS Ireland’s commitment to eliminate blinding trachoma in the Gamo Gofa, Konso and Derashe regions of Ethiopia by the end of 2012.
Each participant was asked to raise €3500 for the projects in Ethiopia. Over many months prior to the trip they all rose to the challenge and currently ORBIS Ireland looks to raise more than €50,000 from the campaign. This amazing figure was achieved through individual donations and creative fundraising events such as bag packing in supermarkets, a curry night, a sausage sizzle, a race night, a comedy night…I could go on. All in all every single person put forth a huge effort into raising significant funds, proving their dedication and passion for ORBIS.
The 10km road race - at 10,000 feet above sea level - is known as the largest mass participation sports event in Africa,with over 30,000 people taking part,including world renowned athletes Haile Gebrselassie,Richard Nerurkar,Sweden’s 2004 Olympic Heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft and the United Kingdom’s 5000m specialist Mo Farah.