Arts Correspondent
Philippines’ Paolo Aguilar, a student teacher at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotoroa, New Zealand, is working with the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust to raise funds to support rural school libraries in Zimbabwe.

He will participate in the 53rd iconic Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon on May 6.

Aguilar is turning 34 two days before the marathon.

The athlete is passionate about running and assisting disadvantaged members in society.

He read about the Rotorua Marathon and registered to participate while still in Philippines.

“Running is my passion as such, was looking for information about Rotorua in preparation for my move to the city,” said Aguilar.

“I saw information about the event advertised and decided to join and on a charity to help, chose ZRSLT because I also have a passion for reading and. I know it is importance especially to young children and from what I had read about the trust that the rural areas of Zimbabwe need help the most,” he said

He added that society had an obligation to support positive initiatives such as the rural library project initiated by the ZRSLT.

“Not all of us are equally resourced to afford the much-needed books to enhance children’s learning and reading activities.

“By supporting me in the Rotorua Marathon, those who are less privileged in this aspect, mostly the children in rural Zimbabwe, will have a chance to open their minds and see the world.”

New Zealand based, ZRSLT Chairperson Driden Kunaka was grateful to Aguilar.

“This is a touching and exciting development, coming from someone who has never been to Zimbabwe, and has never met with an official from our trust.

“I do not have enough words to thank Paolo for his kind and generous gesture.

“It is a development which proves us right as we get international endorsement. And it also proves our message is spreading across the globe,” said an elated Kunaka.

The ZRSLT’s Rotorua based resource person Faustinah Ndhlovu saw Aguilar’s gesture as divine intervention.

“I see the hand of God at play. God silently rewards our efforts, and I am really excited with Paola’s offer. Being the trust’s resource person in Rotorua, I will help mobilise support for Poala as much as I can.”

Ndlovu is also participating in the Marathon.

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