Peacekeepers Run to Help School Children
Since 2007, UNIFIL has implemented countless projects in support of South Lebanon’s population. These civil-military and quick-impact projects are mainly financed by UNIFIL or by troop-contributing countries.
However, a recent initiative has created the opportunity for individual peacekeepers to help directly by putting their money to good use and help the neediest social groups in South Lebanon.
The battalions in the western sector of UNIFIL’s area of operations have launched a special charity running event. Several hundred peacekeepers from various nationalities come together to run a 5-kilometer race within one of UNIFIL’s compounds. This is a non-competitive event and is meant to help certain communities in need of support.
Money raised at this event is used to buy and distribute school kits to students whose families need this help. What sets this activity apart is where the funds come from.
Each peacekeeper buys an event T-shirt, where a portion of what they pay is used to buy the school kits. So, essentially, we have soldiers, UNIFIL peacekeepers, who decide to donate directly to a cause they want to support and be part of. Along the way, they spend a Sunday together in the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
On Sunday 30 October, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz joined Sector West Commander Brigadier General Giuseppe Bertoncello and several hundred peacekeepers in this 5-km charity run. There was, of course, a winner of the race, but the real winners were the students who received school kits that included backpacks, pencil cases, coloured pencils, and notebooks.
Peacekeepers hope to make this charity race happen on a monthly basis, focusing on sporting and social activities to support disadvantaged communities of the south, funded directly by peacekeepers.