EMpower (The Emerging Markets Foundation) is launching Journey Around the World, a £1.5m online appeal to benefit marginalised youth. Participants will collectively travel 25,000 virtual miles and donate 250,000 minutes to cover the distance between all 15 emerging market countries in which the foundation supports young people.
The economic impacts of COVID-19 are having devastating effects on young people in emerging markets, from the slums in Mumbai to the townships in South Africa: food insecurity is rising, schooling derailed, and trends of child marriage and child labour increasing in response to families losing their livelihoods. EMpower helps ~100 local organisations within those communities to cope with these challenging circumstances.
The Journey Around the World launched on Thursday October 1 and is open to anyone (https://www.empowerjourneyforyouth.org/)
who can either set their own challenge or get involved in one of the challenges on the site. Participants are encouraged to get creative with their ideas for travelling the miles or giving hours. Some of the innovative team-spirited initiatives are:
- “Everesting”, known as the most difficult climbing challenge in the world, where participants cycle the height of Everest in a single day (8,848m). EMpower teams will take on 4 “Everest” challenges – one for each continent where EMpower works.
- Learning to code in Python, a computer language, in 6 weeks
- Cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats
Participants compete for weekly prizes, inspired by the countries in which EMpower works.
CYNTHIA STEELE, Chief Executive Officer of EMpower, said:
“Pivot is our by-word for this moment, just as it is for our grantee partners. Traditionally at this time of year, EMpower hosts a gala dinner with 400 people in London to raise funds. That could never happen this year so we had to pivot to fundraise online, still determined to foster a sense of community among supporters and galvanize their commitment to young people. We’ve had to learn a new way to fundraise from scratch, but we are determined to succeed as young people in poverty need support more than ever right now.”
KUNAL SHAH, EMpower Chair of the Board of Directors and Partner at Goldman Sachs, said:
“At this time of deep COVID stress for young people, local organisations in emerging markets are struggling to cope – they are facing threats and closure. We had to do something extraordinary to support these partners, as they in turn are lifelines for young people. As a community of professionals who do business in emerging markets, I’m proud that we have come together and re-directed our competitive spirit towards the aim of raising £1.5m.”
All EMpower’s overheads and administrative costs are covered by its underwriters, so 100% of funds raised through Journey Around the World will directly support our work to help young people.