Philippine student in Marathon to raise money for Zimbabwe’s rural school children

Philippines’ Paolo Aguilar, a student teacher at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotoroa, New Zealand, is working with the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust to raise funds to support rural school libraries in Zimbabwe. He will participate in the 53rd iconic Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon on 6 May 2017.

I’m up early to train! Sub-5 hours is the goal, $500 for the kids in Zimbabwe. Let’s go!

Paolo, who turns 34 two days before the marathon, only arrived in New Zealand on 17 February 2017. He is passionate about running and assisting disadvantaged members in society. He read about the Rotorua Marathon and registered to participate while still in Philippines.  “Running is a passion of mine. As such, as I was looking for information about Rotorua in preparation for my move to the city, I saw information about the Marathon advertised and decided to join the Rotorua Marathon, and when I found that I could pick a charity to help, I chose Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust because I also have a passion for reading and I know its importance especially to young children. I knew from what I had read about the trust that the rural areas of Zimbabwe need help the most”, said Paolo, adding that society had an obligation to support positive initiatives such as the rural library project initiated by the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust.

“Not all of us are well resourced to afford the much-needed books to enhance children’s learning and reading activities. By supporting me in the Rotorua Marathon, those who are less privileged in this aspect, mostly the children in rural Zimbabwe, will have a chance to open their minds and see the world”, added Paolo.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust in New Zealand Driden Kunaka was grateful to Paolo. “This is a touching and exciting development, coming from someone who has never been to Zimbabwe, and has never met with an official from our trust. I do not have enough words to thank Paolo for his kind and generous gesture. It is a development which proves us right as we get international endorsement. It also proves our message is spreading across the globe” , said an elated Driden

The Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust’s Rotorua based resource person Faustinah Ndhlovu saw Paolo’s gesture as divine intervention. “I see the hand of God at play. God silently rewards our efforts, and I am really excited with Paola’s offer. Being the trust’s resource person in Rotorua, I will help mobilise support for Poala as much as I can”, said Faustinah, who is also participating in the Marathon balancing a 20 litre water bucket on her head to raise funds for Tariro Project, also in Zimbabwe.

Equally elated and touched is the Chairman of the Zimbabwe based chapter of the Trust, Matthew Chandaengerwa  who said, “As the ultimate beneficiaries of Paolo’s efforts we are deeply grateful that he has chosen us out of many other causes. Our aim is to change the lives of under privileged children and communities in the rural areas of Zimbabwe by giving them access to self-empowering knowledge through well-equipped libraries. This requires resources and Paolo’s gesture is well appreciated. We hope through his efforts there will be more like minded individuals who shall come forward to assist us raising resources for this cause.”

Paolo attributes his passion for charity work to his wife Nalyn, children Ux and Aurora who have been a great source of support and inspiration, and to Chad Parker, the CEO of a web design company Cybernautic Inc. based in Illinois, USA, which he works for as a writer. “Chad Parker is involved in humanitarian work in Kenya, and I am trying to follow his footsteps. My family has always supported me in my running and charitable activities”, said Paolo who is already giving time to offer voluntary service to other causes just a month after arrival in New Zealand.

In its fifty third year this year, the Rotorua Marathon provides an opportunity for people to keep fit through running, and an opportunity to fundraise for charitable causes. Paolo, who is training hard for the race, is currently ranked number 8 supporter in the top ten supporters.

For further information, email to [email protected] ; cal Matthew Chandaengerwa on 00 263 7 7234 600 in Zimbabwe, or Driden Kunaka on 00 64 212 427 683 in New Zealand

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