Walk around Dubai Mall could help to feed the world

The UN food agency hopes to fight hunger and raise awareness of food shortages by tapping into one of Dubai's favourite pastimes - traipsing about the nearest mall.

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DUBAI // The UN food agency hopes to fight hunger and raise awareness of food shortages by tapping into one of Dubai's favourite pastimes - traipsing about the nearest mall. The World Food Programme (WFP) is urging UAE residents to put on their trainers and commit to a one-hour, 5km circuit of Dubai Mall for its End Hunger: Walk the World event. Some 25,000 people around the world die every day from lack of food.

Proceeds will go towards the WFP school meals programme. Money raised in Dubai last year served about 20,000 impoverished school children in some of the world's most deprived communities. The event, which will begin at 10am on June 4 at the Dubai Mall's Star Atrium, marks the first time Dubai will take part in the 24-hour relay, which was launched eight years ago in partnership with the courier service TNT and attracts hundreds of thousands of participants around the world. "Every six seconds a child dies because of hunger and related causes," said Mark Woodcock, the sales and commercial director at TNT Express UAE. "If everyone could just spare one hour, imagine the difference that we would make.

"We want to see as many faces as possible. Without our money these feeding programmes will stop immediately." The event will begin in New Zealand and finish in Samoa. It was inspired by the journey millions of the world's poorest children have to make to get to school every day. Last year, 40,000 TNT employees launched the programme, inviting family and friends to take part. Some 360,000 people in 210 locations around the world raised money to provide nutritious meals to help students concentrate on their studies .

For as little as Dh1 the WFP can give a cup of porridge, rice or beans to a child in school, said Makiya al Hajiri, the chief executive of International Humanitarian City, which is supporting the walk. loatway@thenational.ae