Riga in view, Kenya on your mind

Christopher Bingel from LSG and 60 other runners set off on the Riga marathon and raised more than 4,500 euros for a help alliance project

The building shell and roof are done, now it’s just the interior fittings that need the finishing touches – in June, the Lulu girls’ school from help alliance’s Watoto educational project in Kenya got a new science building. The school can now provide the children with an even better education. The building was inspired by help alliance project manager for Watoto, Tobias Ernst, NBO GG, who submitted the project proposal in 2016. The initial funds were raised as part of a raffle event which took place at the EMEA conference in Seeheim at the beginning of February, under the motto “FROM THE AREA FOR THE AREA”, and the foundations for the construction of the science building could be laid. Further donations for the project have now been collected. That this has been possible is due not least to the efforts of the organization team for a marathon project initiated by Lufthansa employees.

First Madrid, then Vienna, now Riga – this is the third time that Christopher Bingel, consultant for Supply Chain Management Europe in the LSG Group, and his team have supported help alliance by taking part in an international marathon. On 14 May, 60 participants of all ages set off to run the Riga marathon in support of the Watoto project in Kenya. They ran between ten kilometers and a full marathon, and participants included employees from the LSG Group, Cargo, Technik, Passage and Lufthansa AG, as well as some of their friends and acquaintances.

In addition to the personal benefits that doing sport can bring, they also raised a good deal of money. Sponsors, including friends and family, were asked to donate a certain amount of money for each kilometer completed. The runners paid their own entry fee, travel expenses and accommodation.

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Sport for education

The money raised will all be donated to help alliance’s Watoto educational project in Kenya. There the money will benefit the private schools of the Mekaela Academies, with the aim of ensuring a better future for Kenyan children through a good school education. Because education is precisely what the young people in Kenya need. There is no lack of jobs, especially in the coastal region, but often people cannot get a job, for example in tourism, because they don’t have the necessary school education. Until Watoto built the schools, the village of Ukunda did not have sufficient school or training places for all the children there. The Mekaela Academies now comprise five different schools. 1,250 children attend these schools every day and they have 160 employees, including teachers, cleaning staff, chefs and gardeners.

A well-rehearsed team

“Unfortunately, the fact that our run in Riga is helping to expand the school doesn’t make us run any faster”, says Bingel. Rather, it was the camaraderie, the common goal, and the atmosphere in Riga that motivated them to keep going. Once they had reached the finishing line, the knowledge that they were doing something for a good cause was apparently the icing on the cake.

“The good thing about help alliance is that you know exactly where the money is going. This makes the projects much more personal. Instead of abstract aid projects, we can see the effects and we can completely trust help alliance,” says Liane Löber. She and her LSG colleague Bingel, together with Kristina Becker from Passage, and Stefan Horne, Head of Sales at Clarus Films GmbH in Dietzenbach, make up the organizational team for the running events of Global Goal e.V., an association that combines sport and social commitment.

In September, the team of four will be visiting the project in Kenya to witness the great educational work going on there and take a look at the new science building for themselves.

The runners now need a recuperation phase before the next big run. Although the venue for next year has not yet been decided upon, this fund-raising running project will definitely continue. “We have become very passionate about this project and we want it to become a tradition”, says Kristina Becker. The reason for this is certainly not just the lasting impact achieved by the partnership with help alliance, but also the sense of community, the growing team spirit, and the amazing feeling you get when you cross the finishing line.

For more information about Watoto, visit the website of help alliance and the Facebook page of Global Goal e.V.