Corey and Molly Stevenson, from Kilkeel are running 5km a day in May
JUST as Northern Ireland went into lockdown, a Kilkeel brother and sister duo heard about ‘5km A Day in May’ - a fundraising challenge created by a group of runners for global development and aid charity, Tearfund.
Sharing a love for both fitness and charity, Corey and Molly Stevenson decided to run 5km every day between them.
On why she decided to join the challenge, 24-year-old Molly, who a youth worker, said: ‘I understand that things are difficult in our world right now, but how much more difficult must it be for those living in poverty?
“Here, we have 24/7 access to healthcare, sanitation, TV and social media to inform us of the virus and how to prevent the spread as well as having money and resources to try our best to protect ourselves. However, for people in poverty that is not the case.”
Her 25-year-old brother, Corey who works in the aerospace industry, agreed.
“It’s so important to support people living in poverty during this difficult time as they face the same challenges as we do regarding Covid-19.
“However, they don’t have the money or vital resources as readily available as we do here to help contain and treat the virus. It’s very important they get as much support as possible from those who can afford to offer it,” he said.
Corey and Molly are part of a team virtually running from Belfast to Canada in 31 days, aiming to raise £20,000.
The group of 49 members is together covering the distance between Belfast and Newfoundland (over 3,300 kilometers) over the month of May. Running mainly in Northern Ireland with a couple of members in England and one in Poland, they hope to raise £20,000 for Tearfund - which could help up to 6,600 families living in poverty to access essential sanitising products like soap and bleach powder, helping them to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
On how he is finding the challenge, Corey said: ‘I’m finding the running challenging but enjoyable. I have set myself different time targets some of which I have achieved which is very pleasing.
“Also, it helps to be working towards the target of raising a set amount of money and awareness for the great work that Tearfund do to support those in need around the world!”
Molly, who hadn’t run in over a year before starting the challenge, said: “We have been so encouraged by everyone who has donated, supported and cheered us on and hearing about how many families are being supported as a result of the challenge has made it all worth it.”
Tearfund’s NI Acting Director, Gemma Brown said: “Maintaining a distance from others and practising good hand hygiene is a herculean task for many of the world’s poorest communities.
“We are very concerned about some of the poorest countries, where life is already difficult and there is little infrastructure to deal with coronavirus.
“Living in a crowded household in a densely populated community, such as a refugee camp and having to walk a long way for water, makes it much harder for people to take apparently simple measures such as social distancing and increased handwashing. These become incredibly hard asks, piled on top of an already challenging daily life,” she said.
“This is why we are so grateful to Corey, Molly and others like them around Northern Ireland who are fundraising or donating to our appeal. The generosity of the NI public is enabling us to carry out life-giving work amongst the world’s poorest communities.”
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, home to almost a million Rohingya, is the largest refugee camp in the world, with an average population density of at least six times that of Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Sanitation and hygiene facilities in the camp are already inadequate and the streets are narrow and crowded, so social distancing is extremely difficult, and currently there aren’t enough hand-washing facilities,” said Sudarshan Kodooru, Tearfund’s Country Director in Bangladesh.
“Tearfund is working both in the camps and in the host communities around, distributing leaflets about handwashing, distancing and recognising symptoms, and giving out hygiene kits containing soap, sanitiser and detergent powder, as well as installing 200 community washing facilities and giving food to those in quarantine.”
Around the world Tearfund is carrying out targeted hygiene promotion and education often via social media, constructing taps and water tanks, distributing essential hygiene kits and improving sanitation, distributing food to vulnerable people, and responding to psychosocial needs, as well as delivering emergency aid to the most vulnerable people and their communities.
Tearfund is supporting its locally-based partners and churches to respond to this pandemic, working in all the countries where it has a presence, to minimise the risk of infection.
Tearfund’s hygiene training guidelines have already gone out to partners around the world, benefiting local communities. Resources are continually being developed, translated and published on Tearfund Learn.
The charity is also in close contact with other humanitarian organisations to ensure they are drawing on the experience of the wider community, as well as coordinating to reach as many vulnerable communities as possible.
To make a donation in support of Tearfund’s work responding to coronavirus around the world and support Corey and Molly’s running challenge, visit his Justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mollys5kmaday