After a five-year-long hiatus, Hong Kong’s largest road-running charity event, hosted by UNICEF Hong Kong, returned to the city on Sunday, November 5.
This year marked the 15th Charity Run hosted by the organization since the event debuted back in 2006, offering varying distances of 3, 5, 10, or 15 km runs. The local flagship fundraiser saw to an all-time high of participants, with an estimated 10,000 racers, from seasoned running enthusiasts to groups and families with young children. They all gathered at the racing circuit located at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Sunny Bay.
The aim of the UNICEF Charity Run 2023 is to turn the United Nation Sustainable Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health and Well-Being into a reality for every child. By raising funds for underprivileged children globally, the proceeds donated contribute to UNICEF’s global aid services, providing humanitarian and emergency action, in terms of health, nutrition, water, hygiene, security, and various other children’s rights initiatives.
The event takes place at a time of unprecedented concern for the health and safety of children in the world. From recent catastrophic natural disasters such as the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, Syria, Morrocco, and Afghanistan, as well as displacing floods in Libya, drought, disease and food insecurity affecting Yemen, and most countries in the Horn of Africa. Furthermore from the escalation of violence and warfare in Ukraine and Gaza, where in the latter, an estimated 3,600 Palestinian children were killed in just 25 days.
For 21-year-old Aman Kumar, an avid long-distance runner and current law student at the University of Hong Kong, participating in the fundraiser was a way of supporting the NGO and their work for children in need.
“I’ve done quite a few charity runs, and the cause is always important to me,” Kumar said, adding: “I have a happy running life, and racing is a natural part of that. But I love being able to do it all for something positive.”
Kumar especially expressed his concern for the situation in Gaza, under the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the recent aggravation into the Israeli-Hamas War. He explained that as a Hong Konger, he wanted to find a way to offer his support to those suffering, and he found by supporting UNICEF and their relief efforts, he could try to do just that.
Another group who showed their support for the charity was the Lam family, consisting of 34-year-old dad, Jason, 32-year-old mum, Flora, and their 4-year-old daughter Kayley. They took part in the shorter, more family-friendly 3km loop around Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, happily enjoying the morning jogging together as a family and meeting others in the community, all the while knowing they helped raise some money for the cause.
“I’m very happy and lucky to be here with my husband and baby. We’re all here today to give back what we can, and to enjoy that we can do this together,” Flora explains.
Together with Kumar and the Lams, thousands of other participants made their way through the circuit as the race started at 6 in the morning and ended at 9, just before pools of tourists and park visitors arrived for Disneyland to open at 10:30 AM.
Their hard work led to great success as the collective donations raised from participants and sponsors estimated to around HK$1.8 million for the UNICEF Foundation. This funding supports the initiatives brought forth by the organization to achieve good health and well-being for every child around the world.