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Active Events

Why I Fundraise

Nikki Emerson

Para-Athlete and Non-Executive Director of London Marathon Events

“Since retiring from elite athletics I find that having a goal to train for makes me exercise even when I’ve had a long day at work or a big night out and all I want to do is curl up in front of the TV. There’s nothing quite like taking part in events like London Marathon or RideLondon, with hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets cheering for you to go that bit faster – I’ve done around 30 marathons and I keep saying I won’t do another, then somehow find myself on the start line again!

I feel very privileged to have access to a racing wheelchair and a handcycle so I can keep taking on these challenges, which is why I raise money for Walkabout to help provide other wheelchair users with mobility equipment that will hopefully give them the freedom to take part in sport, or even just to get around independently.”

 

Arielle Rausin

Team USA Para-Athlete and Walkabout Ambassador

“I fundraise for Walkabout because I strongly believe mobility is a human right. Mobility provides people with independence and bodily autonomy, two things essential towards living a healthy and happy life. Wheelchairs provide so much freedom for their users; I can’t imagine life without mine. My hope is that one day we will live in a world where everyone has the mobility device they need and deserve.”

Nataliia Vodolazkina

Paris Marathon 2019

“When I signed up to participate in the Paris Marathon for Walkabout Foundation, my goal was to challenge my abilities, but raising money for their cause has been a great motivation throughout the whole training process. I have family members that require mobility aids and I’m therefore aware of the difficulties they face on an everyday basis. Thankfully we are able to provide them with everything they need, but I would like to have a chance to help people with mobility disabilities around the world who are not so lucky by fundraising for Walkabout. I think it’s essential to raise awareness about the work that Walkabout does and I am so excited to be a part of it.”

 

Merren Wallace

Walkabout Programmes Manager and Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 2018.

“I’d never done anything like a marathon or cycling sportive before I did RideLondon. When I signed up, I’d worked at Walkabout for 3 years and seen many people complete amazing challenges for us – and experienced first-hand the effect that their fundraising had on people in desperate need all over the world. I’d been lucky enough to meet hundreds of children and adults who wouldn’t have had mobility if it hadn’t been for the people that pushed themselves to raise money for our cause – so I decided it was my turn!

Training was hard, especially because I was travelling a lot with work, so had to spend a lot of time in Haitian and Kenyan gyms! But it was great to have the motivation to keep going – partly because I knew how hellish riding 100 miles without training would be; and partly because I had in mind the people I’d be helping by doing it. The race itself was incredible (despite torrential rain for 90 out of the 100 miles!) and I’ll be doing it again this year – I’d recommend doing something like this to everyone!”

 

Beth King and Harry Butterwick

Paris Marathon 2019

“Giving mobility is something you can’t put a price on – the gift brings freedom, dignity, joy and so much more. I am so proud and excited to be raising money for Walkabout Foundation, a fantastic charity which gives gifts like this all year round. Running a marathon is such an apt fundraiser for this charity given that that act of running is all about mobility. For me it is a privilege that I am physically able to run a marathon and I am extremely happy that my ability to run, will in turn, raise money to award the gift of a wheelchair, a gift of mobility, to so many that are in need.”

Walkabout Returns To Tackle Refugee Crisis

We have just returned from Northern Uganda, one of the poorest parts of the country and the heart of one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. With hundreds of people crossing the border every day, fleeing conflict and famine in South Sudan, Uganda is now host to over 1 million refugees.

Last year, we distributed 290 wheelchairs to refugees and local Ugandans that are currently subject to enormous pressure in what is a naturally deprived and low resource environment. This year, thanks again to Euromonitor International, we returned to take our mission one step further. As well as distributing a further 300 wheelchairs, we trained 13 local volunteers, many of them refugees themselves, in how to provide and maintain wheelchairs in a safe and sustainable way.

The possibilities for change in this region are endless. Now that we have started to create a skilled team of locals, we can continue to make a difference all year round, but we need your help to make this change last.

London Walkabout 2018 – Great Success!

On Saturday, September 29th we held our biggest London Walkabout ever, with over 1,200 people walking for those who can’t and raising a record-breaking £115,000 NET! That’s the equivalent of 460 life-changing wheelchairs!

We want to say a huge thank you to each and every person that helped make this event such a success: from the incredible volunteers in our committees, to every single person that attended, and our amazing sponsors that enabled every penny raised to go to our projects!

The Walkabout Wheelchair Centre, Kenya

Closet Sale success!

In June 2018, Walkabout embarked on one of our biggest fundraising ventures ever – we opened our very own week-long pop-up shop in Chelsea! The designer closet sale, which sold generous donors’ second-hand clothes, with at least 50% of the proceeds going to our projects, raised a whopping £70k gross – and £43k net!

We are so grateful to everyone that helped make this event such a success: from the two angel donors who covered the majority of the running costs, to everyone that donated clothes, and all the people that came along to do some guilt-free shopping for a good cause!

Partnership with Free Wheelchair Mission

In April 2018, we travelled to Kenya to receive a very special container of wheelchairs. This was our first shipment of chairs from Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), a US-based charity that designs and manufactures high quality, rough-terrain chairs, with whom we are now proud to be working in partnership.

By combining their wheelchair supply with our local contacts and expertise, we have so far been able to distribute 353 life-changing wheelchairs, restoring dignity, freedom and independence to hundreds of Kenyans.

Giving mobility to the millions of people who lack it around the world is a huge job – and we recognise that we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re so grateful for partnerships with like-minded organisations like FWM, who share our goal of getting the right chairs to those that need it most. In the interconnected world we live in, there’s nothing stopping us from working with others to make a change. Together, we can change the world!

Sudan 2018

In February 2018, team Walkabout travelled to Sudan for the third time for our biggest ever distribution of 620 basic wheelchairs, paediatric chairs and tricycles. We spent two weeks in three locations in the capital, Khartoum, personally fitting hundreds of wheelchairs for children and adults in desperate need.

Every beneficiary differs in what they need in a wheelchair – where they will use it, the amount of support they need, and what it will enable them to do. For some, a wheelchair will simply allow them to sit up straight for the first time; for others, it will mean they can travel the huge distance to get to the market independently. That’s why it’s so important to have different types of wheelchair for different individuals: a basic rough terrain chair is perfect for giving mobility; a paediatric chair gives extra postural support to those that need it; and a trike allows users with good upper body strength to travel further distances. This distribution was particularly special because we had all three types of chairs in the same place at the same time – meaning that every single person was given the chair that was perfect for them!

We are so grateful to our partners – Usratuna, Khartoum Cheshire Home, NAPO, the Sudanese Foundation for People with Disabilities, and Haggar Trading – as well as everyone that volunteered their time on this trip, especially Maria Luz Haggar and Mary Alice Noto.

Africa Serena: 30 Years Later

Clara Martínez Thedy is a recognised artist of the lens whose work has been widely exhibited around the world. Her photographs have also been published in a variety of books and magazines, as well as forming parts of important private art collections.

In 1987, Clara embarked on a journey to Africa which was destined to change the course of her life. She had set out to fulfil a dream cherished since childhood: to travel deep into the African plains to meet the Maasai tribe and discover the wildlife of this mysterious continent. Three decades later, as an experienced photographer, Clara relived this dream, and Africa Serena: 30 Years Later was born. This captivating book features a hand-picked selection of images of the ancient civilisation of the Maasai, and also captures the innocence and vulnerability of innumerable wild animals.

In January 2018, Clara launched her beautiful book with an exhibition at Christie’s London, featuring a selection of prints from the book (and a huge decorative bonsai tree!). Clara generously donated 100% of all proceeds from sales of the book and prints to Walkabout, and together we raised an amazing £67,000!

If you would like to buy a book or print, please get in touch with camilla@walkaboutfoundation.org or call her on 0207 581 36 80 to organise payment and collection from our offices.

Uganda 2017

Northern Uganda is the epicentre of one of the biggest refugee crises in the world. With thousands of people flooding into the country every single day, mainly fleeing conflict in South Sudan, life in the sprawling camps is a constant battle for survival. Just imagine living in one of these camps without mobility.

Thanks to the corporate sponsorship from Euromonitor International, we travelled to Northern Uganda in November 2017. Together with our local partners Hope Health Action and World Action Fund, we distributed 250 wheelchairs and 40 trikes to refugees and host communities.

This is one of the poorest parts of the country, and the additional strain on resources resulting from the refugee crisis meant that almost every person we met had never had a wheelchair before. That said, the atmosphere throughout the two weeks was one of joy and hope, and every distribution was filled with smiles, laughter, and even singing!

Sierra Leone 2017

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, still trying to heal the scars of a brutal 10-year civil war which ended in 2002, leaving the country with a serious lack of infrastructure and overwhelming poverty. In 2014, it saw its already extremely fragile healthcare system collapse even further when it was struck by Ebola, causing a large number of international aid organisations to leave.

We travelled to Sierra Leone in October where we distributed 117 wheelchairs. Many of our beneficiaries had been disabled as a result of disease and lack of adequate care, but many others are still a living reminder of the cruelty of the civil war, in which amputation was a signature atrocity. We met Lamin, a 40-year-old local, who lost his leg during the war. He is now a member of an amputee football team, many of whom we gave wheelchairs to, and was delighted with his new chair, which will allow him to travel longer distances and farm vegetables to support his wife and five children.

Walkabout distributes 1000th chair in Kenya!

In July 2017, we visited Laikipia County, Kenya, where we distributed 228 paediatric chairs alongside our amazing local partner, UDPL. This means that we have now distributed over 1,000 wheelchairs in Kenya, reaching 21 out of the 47 counties, and impacting an estimated 3,000 lives!

When we began distributing chairs with UDPL back in 2014, the need in Laikipia County was immense. Many of the people we met had never before had a wheelchair, and had been forced to drag themselves along the ground to get around or simply spend all of their time inside their homes, isolated and stigmatised. As we began to give out wheelchairs, we started to see a change – every time we returned, we saw fewer people in need from Laikipia, In fact, people were coming from further and further away to get to our distributions – a great indication that what we were doing was really working.

Now, over 1,000 Walkabout wheelchairs are changing lives in 21 counties right across Kenya. That’s 1,000 people that are more visible in their communities; able to work or go to school, and living with the dignity. freedom and independence that they deserve. Thank you for helping us to make this happen!

Women4Walkabout Ladies Luncheon

On June 16th, we hosted our Inaugural Women4Walkabout Ladies Luncheon at Claridge’s Hotel, Mayfair. This event, sponsored by Buccellati, brought 320 women together and raised an incredible £250,000 for women affected by disability all over the world. Surrounded by hundreds of beautiful flower bouquets, handmade by our co-founders’ mother, Monica Gonzalez-Bunster, guests were treated to a champagne reception followed by a three-course lunch, silent auction, and speeches from Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster and Tania Bryer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Walkabout beneficiary Charity Nana spoke about her life before her wheelchair, and how it was transformed with the gift of mobility. The afternoon was topped off with a spectacular live auction, chaired by Harry Dalmeny, and the chance to win a pair of unique Buccellati earrings for each table.

We are incredibly grateful to every single person that helped make this event such a success – from our amazing headline sponsors, to the donors of the incredible prizes for the live and silent auctions, to the wonderful guests that made the day what it was. Every penny raised will go towards transforming the lives of women in desperate need – and for that, we are truly grateful.