African childhood sparks anti-poverty fundraiser

Fundraiser benefits programs in Asia and Africa

Al Hasham. Contributed photo.

Al Hasham believes the smallest act can make the world of difference.

Growing up in Africa, Hasham was constantly surrounded by poverty and longed to help those around him. But things grew dangerous when military officer Idi Amin overthrew Ugandan president Milton Obote in 1971.

During Amin’s eight years in power, he persecuted ethnic and political groups and in the early 1970s, ordered the explusion of some 50,000 South Asians, many of whom had been living there for years.

As a result, Hasham was one of the first groups of immigrants to be welcomed to Canada in 1972.

Now, as the president and CEO of Maximum Express and the chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Hasham hasn’t forgotten about his roots and is giving back as part of World Partnership Walk Victoria.

World Partnership Walk Victoria, which takes place at the University of Victoria next month, raises funds for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s programs in Africa and Asia — initiatives that enable men and women to lift themselves and their children out of poverty to create better communities.

Prior to the walk, Hasham will be holding a fundraiser, also in support of the foundation and to raise awareness of the walk, on Wednesday, April 26 at Max Furniture and Ruffell &Brown (2745 Bridge St) at 5 p.m. The event includes appetizers, drinks, a guest speaker, and a silent and live auction.

“To elimiate poverty is such a big undertaking and if we don’t start, even with a little bit, it’s never going to get any better. Every little bit that you give helps,” said Hasham, who has been involved off and on with World Partnership Walk Victoria since it began more than 25 years ago.

World Partnership Walk Victoria takes place May 28 at the University of Victoria at 10 a.m. For more information on the walk visit worldpartnershipwalk.com.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com