In a bid to raise awareness and funds to combat human trafficking, more than 1,000 students from various international schools came together in support of the 24 Hour Race, a global charity movement organised entirely by high school students between the ages of 14 and 19, who come from different walks of life, with different backgrounds, united by a desire to do more for an important cause, while advocating for the cause in their
communities and mobilising their peers around them.
What began in 2010 as a vision of Hong Kong-based student Christopher Schrader to unite extreme youth endurance with philanthropy has now taken on global proportions with races in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and the United States.
Though extensive, the idea behind the movement is simple enough; student teams would compete in an entirely student-led, endurance relay race, over the course of 24 hours to raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking.
The 24 Hour Race in Kuala Lumpur is the largest of all races, with numbers consistently growing each year since its introduction in Malaysia in 2014.
Students form teams of eight people to run for 24 consecutive hours around a course in a relay style.
Held at the IGB International School (IGBIS), this year’s race gathered over 1,000 people comprising of student participants, team chaperones, teachers, organising committee members and volunteers.
Last year, the 24 Hour Race Kuala Lumpur raised over RM80,000 towards its cause. This year, the race raised over RM200,000 with a total lap run of 15,500 laps.
To date, the 24 Hour Race has globally raised over HKD 9,000,000 (RM4,850,000) in support of victims of human trafficking as well as others involved in the fight against human trafficking.
This year, the 24 Hour Race has partnered with The Exodus Road – a non-profit organisation that focuses on combatting human trafficking, in a program dubbed ‘Operation 24’ which aims to train and equip 24 national and local law enforcement officers, remove 240 victims and traffickers from the human trafficking world, as well as help fund 24,000 hours of investigations across 2400 locations.
Esha Mardikar, Executive Director for the 24 Hour Race Kuala Lumpur, said,
“On a local scale, Malaysia is unfortunately a hot bed of human trafficking. As a major transportation hub and one of the more developed nations in the South East Asian region, Malaysia sees a lot of human trafficking activity, be it as a transit hub or as a final destination. Sadly, many are still unaware of the plight of these victims.
“This is what the 24 Hour Race movement hopes to address.
“The movement has allowed students to find their voice, while taking the initiative to lead the fight against human trafficking.
“The event gives youth regardless of their background, wealth or physical ability, the opportunity to make a difference in support of this cause in their own communities.
“Bearing in mind that today’s youths are the leaders of tomorrow, we hope that the event will help youths carry the importance of the fight against human trafficking with them for years to come.”
This year, the 24 Hour Race Kuala Lumpur received the support of the IGBIS Parent Volunteer Organisation as well as corporate organisations that have partnered or helped to sponsor the event.
These organisations include Beyond Ultron Malaysia, KidZania Malaysia, Shell Malaysia and Cezar’s Kitchen.