Below is an interview of Samco Printers’ President, Sam Hirji by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada about his involvement with the World Partnership Walk and was originally published in The Vancouver Sun on May 25, 2015.
Meet Sam Hirji:
Sam immigrated to Canada after being uprooted from his home country of Uganda, East Africa, due to the 1972 political crisis. In 1976, with a small business loan and 500 square feet of leased space, Sam created Samco Printers Ltd., which has become Vancouver’s best known downtown commercial print company. Aside from his reputation for commitment to quality and service, Sam is well known for his generous, energetic and tireless support of the many charitable causes in the Vancouver community and beyond. Nowhere is this more evident than in his support of the World Partnership Walk since its inception in 1985.
Can you give us a little bit of a background and how your company got involved with the World Partnership Walk initiative?
My involvement with the Partnership Walk actually began before there was a Walk. In 1981, the Aga Khan Foundation established the first Canadian office in Vancouver and I worked closely with the CEO, Nazeer Ladhani at that time. When the Walk was first created, I saw an opportunity to support the initiative at the grass roots level and I knew my sponsorship would add to the Walk’s success. Since then I have not looked back. After 30 years of supporting the Walk and the Foundation’s work around the world, I can see the results of the Walk and know that I have made a contribution towards this success.
As the Walk’s national printer, Samco Printers has been responsible for printing and distributing the Walk’s printed materials to all the Walk cities throughout Canada. Samco Printers’ role as printer has often extended beyond just printing and into design and development of the functionality behind some of documents such as the donor book used in tracking the donors and donations.
The need to get as many sponsors on board before going to print with the promotional materials has always resulted in very tight deadlines for the printing involved. Because of Samco Printers’ commitment to the success of the Walk, our staff has often worked late into the evenings or come in on weekends to make sure that the materials are delivered on time.
What is it that keeps drawing you back to the work of the Foundation and its work in developing countries?
I continue to support the Walk because I know I am making a difference. When you see so many people committed to helping the Foundation to provide aid to the developing world in such a positive way, it is inspiring. Knowing that my support helps the Walk in a very material way keeps me coming back. My community has been a great source of support to me and I want to pass that support on to others throughout the world. The World Partnership Walk is a great way to do this. Whether I am supporting the Walk through our printing services, as a corporate relations volunteer, by creating a corporate team, or any of the other volunteer roles I have been involved in, I know I am helping the Foundation to maintain its commitment to ensure that 100% of funds raised go directly to international development projects and efforts to end global poverty.
What are your plans for creating a buzz around the Walk for 2015?
I will continue to do what I have for the last 30 years… remind my business associates and many of my customers that they can help improve conditions around the world by lending their support to the World Partnership Walk. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am committed to encouraging support for the Walk and the Foundation wherever I go.
How do you feel that the average Vancouverite can get involved in supporting the World Partnership Walk?
It couldn’t be easier. Go online to www.worldpartnershipwalk.com and register. All the options are there to contribute in a way that suits your personal situation. Whether the contribution is small or large, every contribution will help the effort to end global poverty. Even a cursory browse through the website will show that there is hope to improve the plight of those whose lives are so much more difficult than ours.
Aga Khan Foundation Canada: http://www.akfc.ca
World Partnership Walk: http://www.worldpartnershipwalk.com
Vancouver Sun article: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2015/05/25/samco-printers-world-partnership-walk-vancouver