Fill your heart with love for little children and you will never grow old.

Dr. Thomas Barnardo

I just received a call from a friend who’d visited with us on Tuesday. Nevi Morrison is a humble man who serves humanity with grace and presence. He happened to pass a man on the side of State Highway 1 south of Whangarei earlier today. The man was pushing a pram with a Canadian flag on it. Nevi, New Zealand born, lived many years in Canada and couldn’t resist an opportunity to check out this unique traveller. The man turned out to be peace walker Jean Beliveau. I have emailed the contact shown below and hope to host Jean in our home and to interview him while he is here. More on that later.

In the meantime here’s a little about Jean from the Barnardos New Zealand  website at http://www.barnardos.org.nz/About/Overview/News-and-media.htm

On 18 August 2000, at 9.00am, Jean Béliveau left his family behind to undertake a mission – to walk around the world through all 5 continents.

He has already crossed the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia and is now preparing to land in New Zealand at the end of September. Starting his walk at Bluff, he will proceed to walk the 2,000 km length of New Zealand where he will finish at Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island.

New Zealand is the 63rd country in which he will have traveled and the last before he returns to Canada where he will complete his journey from Vancouver back to his original starting point in Montréal – hopefully arriving around October 2011.

His goal is to walk 75,000 km and by the time he reaches NZ he will have walked 68,300 km. He has worn out 48 pairs of shoes and the wwwalk will be the longest walk around the world without returning home.

Jean is dedicating his journey to the UNESCO Decade, 2001-2010 INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD.

Throughout his journey, thousands of people in many countries have been involved in either supporting or participating in various activities to help Jean raise awareness for a culture of Peace for Children.

For more about Jean please read: www.wwwalk.org

Throughout his journey Jean has been supported by the generosity of others.

As part of his New Zealand walk, Jean has chosen to support Barnados New Zealand as his charity of choice.

Jean Beliveau

When Jean Beliveau arrived in New Zealand in October to begin his walk up the length of the country, news media dubbed him “the real Forrest Gump”. He had, after all, been walking around the world for ten years, and New Zealand is his 63rd and last country before he returns to Canada in 2011.

But there is a significant difference between this amazing man and Forrest Gump. Jean Beliveau is walking for a purpose: to promote the UNESCO international decade (2001-2010) for peace and non-violence for children. Jean’s dream is to increase child rights and secure the ideal of children and youth living free from violence.

Jean has now walked from Bluff to Christchurch. When he arrived in Christchurch on 4 November he was greeted by Barnardos staff who walked into the city with him, to the wonderful sound of bagpipes.

When you talk to Jean it is clear that without that purpose, and his dedication to peace, he would not have been able to keep walking for so long. “Without the cause, I couldn’t walk very far at all. It’s a crazy desire, and I still wonder why, but I know it comes back to wanting to encourage change for children. This is a big opportunity to spread an important message,” he says.

Jean said there was great excitement as they walked. Along the way, he made an impromptu visit to Christchurch City Council and met Mayor Bob Parker. He has an uncanny ability to be able to walk anywhere – including into Council meetings!

It is clear that Jean is loving his time in New Zealand so far. He says “I feel comfortable with the culture here. The people make me feel at home.”

Jean has had amazing support from Barnardos and when people tell him they want to do everything they can to support him, he reminds them that the feeling is mutual. Jean is collecting donations for Barnardos as he walks and he has had some generous donations from the likes of Dunedin Lions Club and Papanui Rotary Club in Christchurch. Donations in support of his walk can be made at www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/wwwalk.org

So, keep an eye out for Jean in a town near you. And if you would like to offer accommodation or other support for Jean, please just let us know!

If you want to get involved, please email Deborah Morris-Travers, Advocacy Manager at Barnardos NZ: Deborah.travers@barnardos.org.nz

Check out more information about Jean Beliveau’s walk around the world.

A little about Barnardos from http://www.barnardos.org.nz/About/Overview/Introduction.htm

At Barnardos New Zealand, our guiding principle Ko Ngā Tamariki I Te Tuatahi – Children Come First informs everything we do. Our child and family services, early childhood care and education, and our information and advocacy programme all have a clear focus of putting children first.

We work closely across our services and in association with other community and government agencies throughout the country to best meet the needs of children, young people and their families.

Barnardos opened its first service in Mangere in 1972. Over the past 40 years, we have supported more than 10,000 children and families each year, reaching even more through our advocacy work.

Barnardos New Zealand is a society registered under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, and is registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005 with the Charities Commission.

A few more details about Jean Beliveau from his website:

Jean Beliveau

PEACE FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD
On August 18th, 2000, at 9:00 am, Jean Béliveau left Montreal, Canada. His goal is to walk around the planet to promote “Peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world”. He is traveling alone with a three wheeled stroller to carry a bit of food, his clothing, a First Aid kit, a small tent and a sleeping bag. Jean plans to walk across all the continents, from North America to South America, then across to South Africa, up to Europe, then the Middle East, South and Eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand and finally back to Canada.
This journey will take 12 years to complete which is in accordance with the United Nations proclamation: 2001-2010 – International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World
 
www.wwwalk.org
 
The “wwwalk” stands for “world wide walk”.

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