Above: Niall, Eve, Saidbh and Tadhg Nerney with Gerry the dog
GOAL has thanked the hundreds of people all over Longford who turned out over Christmas to do a virtual GOAL Mile to support vulnerable communities all over the world.
Every Christmas for four decades it has been a tradition for family, friends and neighbours in Longford to take time out to walk, run or jog a mile for GOAL at various locations to support the agency’s work in 14 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Determined to keep the tradition going, and to give people that chance to connect in a different but meaningful way over the festive season, GOAL announced that the GOAL Mile was going virtual – and thousands of people registered doing their mile at a time and place of their choosing, within the Covid-19 guidelines.
Over 5,000 Irish people at home and abroad registered to do a mile. That is 5,000 miles, exceeding the distance from Ireland to Syria where GOAL supports more than one million displaced people every single day.
GOAL CEO, Siobhan Walsh, said: “I want to extend a world of thanks to each and every person in Longford for uniting as one global family this Christmas to make a difference. Thank you for your humanity.”
She added: “This year has seen all of our lives upheaved in ways unimaginable just 12 months ago. The impact of Covid-19 has been profound in the 13 countries in which GOAL works, exacerbated by the unresolved humanitarian issues that plague progress including climate change, global hunger, access to clean water, basic medical care, and sustainable livelihoods.
“Since March, our teams have implemented a wide range of activities to reach over 17 million people with Covid-19 awareness and supports. This would not have been possible without the generous support of the people of Ireland.
"Whilst this Christmas we were all asked to keep apart, I am so happy that so many stood together to do a mile in solidarity for GOAL, especially all our friends and supporters in county Longford. It has been tremendous. The pandemic means the GOAL Mile is more important than ever as we work to rebuild communities shattered by disease, conflict and climate change."
Apart from Covid-19 in 2020 GOAL reached more than 8 million people in its countries with food, health, livelihoods and emergency response support.