The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) launched its annual charity Marathon dubbed the NSSF Kampala 7 Hills Hash Run on Friday; which for the first time will be open to the wider public. Previously, the run was only open to corporate companies that supported the cause by registering their employees as a team to participate in the run. During the launch at MTN Arena in Lugogo, NSSF Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba revealed that this year’s run has also expanded to benefit four upcountry schools on top of the KCCA public schools in Kampala. “We realised that there are so many dilapidated schools in rural areas that are in dire need of help and as a Fund we decided to expand the initiative and include upcountry schools so that they can study from a conducive environment,” noted Byarugaba. The individual participation cost is 25,000 per person while companies will participate according to the different packages that include Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. “This year, we have given ourselves an ambitious target of raising over Shs500m to go towards schools here in Kampala and upcountry. We are tasking our selves, partners and the general public to come together to support this important cause,” Byarugaba noted, adding that a conducive learning environment is important to the education of children. For the past three years, NSSF has held the exciting and challenging Seven Hills Hash Run in partnership with the Kampala Hash House to raise money for KCCA schools in Kampala. So far, over Shs300m has been collected and handed over to the management of KCCA and over six schools have benefitted from this charitable cause.The Kampala Hash House Harriers Master, George Mbiko applauded NSSF for reaching out to needy schools in society and said that he is proud of the impact that the NSSF Seven Hills Run has had on the communities in which these schools are, and has pledged to continue working with NSSF to see that the run grows bigger with more participants every year in order to help refurbish more dilapidated schools across the country. This year’s Seven Hills Run will be held on March 17 and thus participants have one and a half months to reach fitness peak in order to be able to tackle the treacherous route. “We are hoping that participants in this year’s run take ample time to get in the best shape in order to conquer all the 7 hills without any injuries,” he said. The Acting KCCA Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitaka commended NSSF for working with the authority to improve the quality of infrastructure for education; affirming that all the Funds will be put to the right cause to ensure that pupils have conducive structures to foster a good learning environment. Last month, NSSF handed over to us Shs93m and this will go towards refurbishing classroom blocks at Mbuya and St. Paul Nsambya primary schools, a process that has already started. “We have received over Shs300m over the last 3 years and I am happy to hear that they are extending this support to benefit other districts as well because the plight of school infrastructure extends beyond our beautiful city,” said Kitaka. Some of the companies that have already signed up to support this year’s run include; Stanbic Bank, Vision Group, Mukwano Industries, Umeme, Housing Finance, Daily Monitor, Red Pepper Publications, Galaxy FM, Orient Bank among others. NSSF’s Byarugaba also reiterated the institution’s commitment to making an impact on Education through projects like this and the annual Career Expo that exposes students in tertiary institutes, techniques on how to take competitive advantage of the cutthroat workforce. NSSF recently also engaged in Blood Donation Drive –an annual activity that helps in restocking the National Blood Bank Reserves during school holidays and support to maternal and child health through donations to hospitals like Kiruddu among others.