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    Group Walks in Canada for Somalia Famine

    Children from southern Somalia get cooked food at a local NGO's compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept.14, 2011.
    Children from southern Somalia get cooked food at a local NGO's compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept.14, 2011.

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    James Butty

    A group of Canadian citizens is walking from Toronto to Ottawa this week to advocate for, and bring awareness to, the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

    Ige Egal, media and communication coordinator for “Walk for Somalia,” said the group hopes to raise $1 million for Somalia famine relief.

    “Walk for Somalia is an initiative that has been established by the youth here in Toronto.  It was established in 2009 and that initial walk was a walk in the city of Toronto to raise awareness about the drought and the situation in Somalia.  Now, we are again organizing a walk but, instead of just walking in the city of Toronto, we ‘re taking the walk from the city of Toronto to our nation’s capital, which is Ottawa,” he said.

    Aside from the $1 million goal, the group is asking the Canadian government to extend the donation matching period to encourage Canadians to give generously.

    “We want to raise $1 million in these eight days and the days that will follow our walk.  Now, $1 million might sound like a lot of money, but consider [that] the United Nations has said that it would take two and a half billion to really effectively respond to the famine that is going in the Horn of Africa,” Egal said.

    Egal said Canadians have donated generously to the famine in the Horn of Africa.

    “The response of [the] people in Canada, I would say, has been good.  When we have natural disasters that have occurred in the world, our government does step up and doubles any donation that Canadians give to Canadian agencies and charities that are responding to the situation,” Egal said.

    But, Egal said, while Canadians have responded generously, “Walk for Somalia” is intended to raise awareness for acute humanitarian needs in Somalia because, he said, it takes a concerted effort over a period of time to help those affected by the fought.

    He said those seeking more information about the campaign can visit the group’s website: www.walkforsomalia.ca.

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