Imagine walking a half marathon every day, just to have the water to drink…
So in my last Bringing change post – New Growth – I’d identified that I wanted to turn the promise of Hope into change and to make my loss to be a trigger for bringing good into the world.
The problem with me is that I never like to do things by halves, so I’ve already thrown myself into fundraising for various charities. One of these is so closely tied to my work that I cannot speak about it here. The other is a fabulous cause which I have supported in the past and that my readers have kindly kicked in donations to back up my fundraising zeal.
CARE International UK’s Walk In Her Shoes captured my imagination last year because of its energy in bringing water sources closer to communities in poverty stricken areas – specifically aiming to take the distances out of the water supply so women and girls spend less time walking to fetch water and could spend more time in school to advance themselves and their communities.
Each morning in south Ethiopia, 14-year-old Ayanna rises before dawn to walk 11 kilometres to fetch water for her family. She walks with others to the well because of the threat of hyenas and foxes, who have attacked children from her kabele (village) before. Water is vital to support the family and their livestock, so the walk must be done. Once there the women and children work together to fill their 20 litre jerry cans, before bringing the heavy load back home, a three-hour-effort, to filter it through scarves. The water is not clean and can often contain leeches.
She dreams of becoming a teacher, but she has little time for school and her journey ‘makes me tired’ she says.
She repeats her journey in the afternoon and only when Ayanna arrives home at 4pm, having walked more than half a marathon, can she have her second and final meal of the day, anshirro, a milky maize mix, 11 hours since she breakfasted on the same thing. She has been awake for approximately 17 hours and is exhausted. “I would like time to play,” she says, but even if there was time, she’d be too tired. “There is always a feeling of pain,” she states simply. Fatigue and pain have become her closest companions.
The idea behind “Walk In Her Shoes” is to take the load off of children like Ayanna – by walking 10,000 steps a day to raise money to pay for clean and safe water closer to the communities who need it most. CARE International also work to provide separate latrine facilities in schools for boys and girls so that another obstacle to girl’s education can be swept away.
Last year I raised £190 for the charity by completing a total of 75,044 – I hope to smash both these totals this year (whilst running two miles a day for another matter). I hope you can get behind my efforts to support this cause via my JustGiving site.