Think globally, run locally

Annual Zimbabwe run raises money for orphanage, encourages fitness

The Run for Zimbabwe is part African festival, part fun run. Now in its 14th year, the race and fair is set for Sunday, March 24, from noon to 4 p.m. at St. Joseph School.

With races for all ages, from preschool to adult, the event raises money for an orphanage in Zimbabwe, the Makumbi Children's Home. Put on by the Sustainable Living Foundation, the event includes a celebration of Zimbabwe culture with authentic music from Chinyakare Ensemble and Sadza, cultural booths, games and food, according to organizer Ellen Clark, the foundation's president.

Clark said she hopes proceeds from this year's event will match -- or beat -- last year's donation of $32,700. The race entry fee is low at $5, with T-shirts sold separately. Attendees are encouraged to contribute shoes to the shoe drive. There's also a children's book drive, with a request for each family to contribute one book and $1 to cover shipping costs.

According to Clark, the event is a chance for local residents to get fit while helping the people of a country with one of the world's highest poverty rates. About one third of the population suffers from HIV or AIDS in Zimbabwe, where residents have a very low life expectancy and there is an estimated 900,000 AIDS orphans and children who have been abandoned by parents who could not support them, Clark said.

The Wakerly Family Foundation underwrites the Run for Zimbabwe. Kate Wakerly was the Voice's founding editor.

St. Joseph School is located at 1120 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View. To sign up for the race online, go to the Sustainable Living Foundation's website or for information, contact Ellen Clark at 650-941-9206 or via email at


Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan E.
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, is a repressive authoritarian responsible for human rights abuses and severe economic decline. Mugabe's policies are directly responsible for the recent 30% percent reduction in life expectancy as well as turning Zimbabwe from a food exporting country to a food importing country.
So, can somebody explain to me why we should support this dude?

Like this comment
Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Mar 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@Jonathan E.: you seem to have mistaken a fundraiser benefiting the children at an orphanage in Zimbabwe with support for Robert Mugabe and his policies.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

Charles Dickens referred to this sort of thing as "telescopic philanthropy." I share his contempt for people who ignore the needy in their own country in favor of a more "exotic" locale, particularly Zimbabwe, a viciously racist dictatorship.

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Old Ben: maybe you could organize your own fun run to raise money for a more local charity. It might be more successful if you talk about why your cause is important without showing contempt for those who believe in others. There are a lot of reasons you might consider another charity more worthy, but I think it's important to remember that doing something is better than doing nothing. Why attack people who are trying to make a difference?

In general, I think it'd be hard to accomplish anything in Zimbabwe, but sponsoring an orphan might be one of the better ways to try. I wish these people luck.

"[T]here's little we can do for places like Zimbabwe under its icon gone rotten, President Mugabe. You could try and train teachers, but you have no idea whether the government would pay them once trained. You could ship in essential drugs, but you don't know whether the government might impound them or charge for them at high prices. In fact, it's often only charity and emergency aid that can be of use in such circumstances: providing direct help for some of the population worst affected by failing systems, and grassroots projects supporting democracy and advocacy groups that might help in a small way to build the foundations for future change." - Giles Bolton in Africa Doesn't Matter: How the West Has Failed The Poorest Continent and What We Can Do About It

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I reserve my charity for those I know personally who are in need.

It's the best I can do.

I have no interest in overseas causes, be they war or peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I'll admit, there are no tax benefits whatsoever to my strategy. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I'd rather be lucky than smart.

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 21, 2013 at 10:23 am

Here's a quick glimpse of what's going on in Zimbabwe:

Web Link

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