3,000 Participated in the Los Angeles Partnership Walk on September 26th, 2004

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Approximately 4,000 people participated in the Los Angeles Partnership Walk today including Mayor Jim Hahn, KBIG DJ Charlie Tuna, CNNFN Anchor Ali Velshi and Reporter Beverly White to show their support for international cooperation and for ending poverty around the world.

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Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 28, 2004 – Approximately 4,000 people participated in the Los Angeles Partnership Walk today at the Rose Bowl, Site H in Pasadena to show their support for international cooperation and for ending poverty around the world. Over $800,000 was raised through this event in Los Angeles. The Partnership Walk is an initiative of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) and is organized by its network of volunteers in communities across the United States. The Partnership Walk has been held since 1995 in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. The aim of the Walk is to raise public awareness and funds to help communities in some of the poorest areas of Africa and Asia create long-term solutions to poverty.

The Partnership Walk also took place today in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. Approximately 30,000 people participated nationally with an expected $3.1 million raised. One hundred percent of the funds raised at the Partnership Walk go directly to the projects supported by the Foundation. The cost of organizing the Walk is completely underwritten by AKF USA and in-kind contributors. No funds are used for administrative costs.

At the opening ceremonies for the Los Angeles Partnership Walk, the honorable James K. Hahn, mayor of Los Angeles stated “poverty breeds disease, poverty limits people from reaching their potential. Poverty is an issue that all human beings must fight because poverty does not just affect poor people.” The honorable Bernard Parks, Los Angeles City Council Member recognized “Education is a key for financial prosperity, it is a key for political activism, it is a key for our environment, it is a key for everything we stand for in a democracy.” Council Member, Joyce Steator representing the mayor of Pasadena, welcomed everyone “it is one thing to sit back in the comfort of your home and talk about how terrible poverty is and how awful it is that everyone does not have an equal opportunity to education. It is another thing to come out here on a beautiful sunny day and say ‘I am going to do what needs to be done to help somebody else’.” Proclamations were received from the State of California declaring September 26, 2004 as Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. Partnership Walk Day. Dr. Rashida Khakoo, Chairman of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. also addressed the crowd.

Serving as masters of ceremonies was Ali Velshi, anchor for CNNfn The Money Gang; Beverly White, news anchor for KNBC-4, LA; and Charlie Tuna, radio personality for K-BIG 104.3 FM. Following the Walk and a picnic lunch, there was a program of entertainment celebrating world cultures. The diverse range of musical and dance performances included Tribute to America, Cultures of California, Cirque du Soleil by Dance House, Middle Eastern Culture by Flowers of the Dessert, African Culture by LA County High School for the Arts, Chinese Culture by Lin Lang Dance Company, Indian Culture NDM Dance Productions, among others.

At the Village in Action, participants of all ages had an opportunity to engage in interactive activities and learn how people in developing countries create solutions to overcome the challenges of low income, poor health conditions and limited educational opportunities. Through displays and hands-on demonstrations, the Village in Action showcased the positive results that are achieved through the Foundation’s community-based, self-help development programs in Africa and Asia. Face painting, pottery and henna design, African Bazar, and a life-size display of a typical Tajik house were some of the highlights of the Village in Action. Volunteers from the Los Angeles metropolitan area researched, planned, designed and created the exhibits. Through this process, they gained an understanding of global citizenship.

This year’s Partnership Walk theme, “Quality Education for All,” highlighted education as a critical ingredient in ending poverty as well as a lifeline to pull families out of poverty. The Foundation’s many education projects foster long-term stability in countries such as Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan and Tajikistan and place special emphasis on ensuring that girls, the very poor and geographically remote populations have access to quality education. For example, it trains teachers in Afghanistan so more girls will attend school. In poor areas of East Africa and Pakistan, the Foundation has made great strides in helping preschoolers get a healthy start through early childhood development programs that build a strong foundation for life-long learning.

The Foundation works in partnership with other institutions dedicated to international development such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. State Department, the World Bank as well as private foundations and corporations.

AKF USA is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, a family of private international non-denominational agencies working to improve the living conditions and opportunities for people in specific regions of the developing world. The overarching goal of the Network’s programs is to help poor communities achieve a level of self-reliance whereby they are able to plan their own futures. With a focus on improving health, education and the standard of living in some of the poorest communities in Africa and Asia, the Foundation seeks sustainable solutions to long-term problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and ill health, with specific emphasis on the needs of rural communities in mountainous, coastal and resource-poor areas. The Foundation is presently engaged in 140 programs in 16 countries. The geographic focus of its development projects is in East Africa and South and Central Asia. Aga Khan Foundation was established in Geneva, Switzerland in 1967 by its Chairman, His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, who have a long tradition of philanthropy, volunteerism, self-help, education and social welfare.

For more information, visit http://www.akdn.org.

For further information and to schedule interviews, call

Ms. Martha Sipple, AKF USA Communications Officer at (202) 293-2537 or

Mr. Hamid Kabani, Media Coordinator for the Los Angeles Partnership Walk Team at

(714) 843-5453 or (310) 645-5160 or the Walk office at (310) 202-9430

Visit the Partnership Walk website at http://www.partnershipwalk.org.

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