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Walk A Cause, Help Save Lives

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AN IMPRESSIVE number of people turned up at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium yesterday to take part in a charity walk aimed at raising public awareness on the disaster that has befallen Pakistan, with more than one fifth of the country under flood waters.
Nearly 2,000 people filled the stadium yesterday morning ready to start their three kilometre walk wearing their white t-shirts with the message "Walk a Cause, Help Save Lives".
The floods in Pakistan began in July following heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan. Present estimates indicate that over 2,000 people had died and over a million homes had been destroyed since the flooding started. The United Nations estimates that more than 21 million people are injured or homeless as a result of the calamity.
Speaking to The Brunei Times after the walk, Pakistani High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Lt General (Rtd) Sallah Ud-Din said that he was impressed and thankful to everyone who showed up.
"We are really proud and very moved. It is a clear reflection of the Bruneian society," he said.
The High Commissioner said while they collected some money on the day, the purpose of the walk was not to raise funds but to create awareness and encourage people to donate to the ongoing various campaigns.
"At the end of the day, we think Brunei will be able to contribute much more than is expected of its population," he said.
Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Imran Yawer said everyone the high commission had invited had shown up yesterday to show their support, adding that the Department of Schools had been very cooperative.
"Datin Adina (Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport) was surprised when she saw so many children representing their schools," he said.
Diplomats and diplomatic mission staff from the Indian, Bangladesh, British, Canadian and Australian high commissions were spotted among the crowd, as well as representatives of schools, ministries and other organisations.
Meragang Sixth Form Centre (PTEM) students Fuzah Hj Mawad and Hazimi Hj Jaidi said they came with their friends on their own initiative.
"We found out about the event from the Ranoadidas website. We thought this is a good cause to be walking for Pakistan," said Fuzah, adding that the school also arranged a food sale to raise money.
Agerico Depala, a physical education teacher from St Andrew’s School said 161 students, ranging from primary to secondary had turned up for the walk.
"We showed the kids a slideshow of what’s happened in Pakistan and some of them felt very passionate about it, so they wanted to join in the walk," he said.
Australian High Commissioner Mark Sawers said the entire Australian mission of 12 people had turned up "in force" to take part.
"It’s for a good cause, so everyone wanted to take part," he said.
Hamid Mahmud, a Pakistani businessman who has lived in Brunei for 13 years, said he came out to show his concern for the disaster. "I salute the people of Brunei, they’re organised and they have really big hearts," he said.
Also joining in the walk yesterday was Deputy Minister of Defence Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat.
The Brunei Times


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