Former Offaly footballer to embark on charity canal walk

It's all in aid of Gorta Self Help Africa

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly football legend Laz Molloy and Operation Transformation star and renowned fundraiser Ronan Scully along with family and friends are undertaking the "Canal Way Walk" from Tullamore to Croghan Hill on St. Patricks Day starting out from Tullamore along the Canal at 7am onto Croghan hill and are looking for people to join them.

They are looking for people to join them on the sponsored canal walk on St. Patricks Day 2018, part of an Irish Camino, in aid of Gorta Self Help Africa. All funds raised by participating in this walk goes directly to the charity.

The walk begins at 7am in the morning at the Fiona Pender memorial in Tullamore. "As we take our voyage along the Canal there will be water/snack stops with musical performances along the way. This walk will incorporate a spiritual journey for many as its in conjunction with the Camino way, the way of Saint James, our Canal Way walk is the way of St. Patrick. We plan to be back in Croghan Hill for 11am, where walkers will receive complimentary refreshments. Then as a group all walkers will climb Croghan Hill in time for Mass on the hill at 12 noon," Ronan told us.

If you would like to be part of this special event for such a needed cause please contact Laz Molloy on 0866778807 or Aislinn Molloy 0870688530 to receive your sponsorship card. Participants who raise in excess of €100 will be rewarded with a Gorta Self Help t-shirt. The walk will maintain a pace which is suitable to people of all levels of fitness.

With his role as a business developer for Gorta Self Help Africa, Ronan Scully understands better than most the challenges faced by families all around Africa: “Since I started working with Gorta Self Help Africa the entire focus has been on food – and particularly how it can be grown in difficult conditions and tough climates in the developing world. I may have had my own struggles with food in the past, but the weight loss challenges that I faced on Operation Transformation are absolutely nothing to the ordeal that millions of Africans face in putting enough food on the table and providing for their families, simply to survive."

“These issues have come into sharp focus with the famine and drought in parts of Africa at present and especially in Ethiopia where some 12 million people and in Malawi where some 6.5 million people and children are affected with food shortages and hunger because of the effects of climate change, but at Gorta Self Help Africa we are continuing to say that while we must respond to the emergency, we can only help to bring an end to these terrible stories if we provide people with the wherewithal to live a life free from hunger and poverty. At Gorta Self Help Africa we are doing that by providing farming communities with good quality seed, by supporting the development of irrigation, and by a whole host of other measures that can give people some protection from the kinds of problems they are facing in parts of Africa today."

For Ronan, the plight of the people of Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, West and East Africa and Ethiopia is particularly troubling. An adoptive father of two little girls from Ethiopia, he says that it has been particularly tough to watch the pictures of the drought and effects of climate change on the news bulletins, or explain to six-year-old Sophie and an nine-year-old Mia what is happening in the country of their birth:

“It’s hard to explain to your children that there are people dying of hunger in the world, and particularly so when we know that this is not a disease they are suffering, but a situation that can be cured very easily.”

Gorta Self Help Africa has been working in Africa for more than 33 years, and has supported millions of its people to increase the amount of food that they produce, and increase the amount that they earn from farming in that time.

Scully says that the reason for Gorta Self Help Africa to focus on farming is simple, too – pointing to the fact that 80 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on small farms, and to studies that show that the vast majority of these farms have the potential for greater productivity.

“As the name suggests, Self Help Africa believes that the solution to one of the biggest challenges faced by Africa is in the hands of the people themselves. Provide African farmers with better access to seeds, with training and with the knowledge that will make them better farmers and you will solve a problem that we have been wrestling with for the best part of half a century.”

To find out more or to get a sponsorship card for the "Canal Way" Charity walk contact  Laz Molloy on 0866778807 or Aislinn Molloy 0870688530 to receive your sponsorship card.

You can also contact Ronan Scully on (087) 6189094, visit www.selfhelpafrica.org or email ronan.scully@selfhelpafrica.org