Singapore Runs to Help the Hungry in Africa

For the first time, World Vision Singapore presents its inaugural Race for Relief this 15 July 2017 in urgent response to the growing catastrophe in East Africa, where over 20 million people – half of them children – are currently facing starvation and the risk of death as drought and conflict persist in the region. Happening at Stadium Riverside Walk, up to 1,500 people are expected to come together and run 5 kilometers for an extraordinary cause. Half-marathon national record holder Mok Ying Rong, blogger Dr Leslie Tay of, celebrities Andie Chen and Belinda Lee have also pledged their support to the cause and will be present at the run.

Famine is already gripping parts of South Sudan, while Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are on the brink of catastrophe. The needs are great and a slow reaction will likely see millions more affected by this crisis. In Ethiopia, there are reports of spreading armyworm infestation on crops, and from July, the country will run out of emergency food aid. Reports are coming in that many children in Somalia are too weak and dehydrated to even drink from cups and have to be tube fed. There have been widespread disease outbreaks such as acute, watery diarrhea and cholera in drought affected areas. For more information on the crisis, please refer to Annex 1.

“We hope to raise awareness of the worse humanitarian crisis since World War II and for the public to respond with compassion to help save the lives of vulnerable children and families.”, says Ms Foo Pek Hong, Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Singapore.

The race will simulate the challenging conditions of the crisis and is organized into 3 teams – Drought Relief, War Relief and Hunger Relief, where participants are given the option to carry a jerry can, gunny sack and bag of potatoes. Through this, World Vision hopes to communicate the urgency of this crisis to participants and propel them into a deeper understanding of how individual lives have been affected by the crisis.

Participants can also expect an exciting line-up of activities as part of a carnival at the end of the race. Highlights include a photojournalistic exhibition on the crisis, a performance by local artistes Jack and Rai, a chance to meet with Race for Relief’s ambassadors, and experiential learning activities for children. For interview opportunities, please refer to Annex 2.

For more information on the run, please visit:

For more information and media interviews, please contact:

Fiona Soh
Director of Resource Development and Communications World Vision International (Singapore)
Tel: 6922 0108/9830 2934

Shermaine Tan
Senior Executive, Resource Development and Communications World Vision International (Singapore)
Tel: 6922 0109/9488 4279

Annex 1: East Africa Famine Relief Factsheet

Millions of people across Africa are experiencing unprecedented hunger and famine, exacerbated by drought, conflict and political instability. This, according to the UN, is the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Only 43% of the aid requested has been met.

  •   More than 3.5 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition, with nearly 850,000 on the brink of death.
  •   From July, Ethiopia will run out of emergency food aid
  •   Cholera has broken out in South Sudan camps with 248 deaths
  •   Over 5 million people have been displaced, many into conflict zones, leaving children vulnerableto violence, exploitation and abuse.In response to their great suffering, World Vision launched a response in February 2017 to provide life- saving assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia:

We have a responsibility to the children in East Africa: To give them hope of a better future in times of suffering. Millions of lives are at stake. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye.

Annex 2: Media interviews

Dr. Kathryn Tatzsch
Director, World Vision Global Humanitarian Operations
Dr Tatzsch is able to share on the topics of ‘Does food aid really work?’ and ‘Challenges and Strategies in Humanitarian Crisis Management’. She has over 15 years of experience in strategic and operational humanitarian response and academic research in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, having worked with the Institute for Peace Research & Security Studies and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (a German international development agency) before World Vision. In addition to working on the ground, Dr Tatzsch has worked on global strategies for helping the most vulnerable children trapped in fragile states.

Dr Leslie Tay
Author of award winning food blog, ieatishootipost
Dr Leslie Tay is regarded as one of the best authorities on Singapore food. On top of being a blogger, Dr Leslie Tay is a doctor, photographer and speaker. He wears many hats and is passionate about more than just food. He champions for those in need and has initiated several projects that have benefitted impoverished communities.

Belinda Lee
World Vision Ambassador
Bilingual host and actress, Belinda is adept at whatever she puts her heart and soul in. She is also World Vision Singapore’s Goodwill Ambassador and is an active advocate for vulnerable women and children. She has shared about transformational and sustainable development on national television and radio and at World Vision events.

Mok Ying Rong
Half Marathon National Record holder
Mok Ying Rong has represented Singapore in various races around the world and is best known for breaking a national record in the women’s open category during a half marathon in South Korea last year.