I walk so these women might not have to
If you’re anything like me, your day today will have consisted of rushing from kinder drop off, to gym, to work, to grocery shopping, to kinder pick up, to swimming lessons, to home, to cook dinner, to more work, to bath time, to bed.
And if you’re anything like me, you would have dressed for style rather than comfort so by the end of the day, just before you fall into a blessed exhausted slumber, your feet are KILLING you!
But as you’re sitting on the edge of your bed rubbing your aching soles, I want you to imagine a different life.
I want you to imagine Ang who lives in Laos.
Ang is a single mother of 3, who agreed to wear a pedometer for international aid organization, Care.
On her first day, Ang walked 95,511 steps. That’s around 60 km. In one day. The total for her week was 220kms. That’s just collecting rice, water, firewood. Basic needs for her family, needs that prevent her from earning an income, and entrap her in more poverty.
Now imagine Fikere who is 16 and lives in Ethiopia.
She is responsible for collecting enough water for her family to drink, cook and wash with every day.
She has to walk so many hours each week to the river, which is often muddy, contaminated and causes her family to be sick, that she misses at least 3 classes of school a week.
If Fikere is prevented from going to school, she too will be trapped in a cycle of poverty like Ang.
And just before you fall into bed and let the last of your day float away, imagine 12 year old Sopheap in Cambodia,
who’s journey through a forest every day for firewood terrifies her, because of fear of ghosts and attackers.
I don’t know about you, but I’m heading straight back in to my daughter’s bedroom to give her beautiful sleeping head another kiss. Thank God she is safe.
I’m daughter to a single mother, sister to two sisters, and mother of a little girl. I have been raised, guided, loved and inspired by women my whole life.
Conversely, I believe in women. I am driven to change gender inequality whenever it is within my reach, but in that struggle to claim what is our due, I am intensely aware that there is privilege in that fight.
For my own daughter, as I focus on growing in her a sense of self belief, a healthy body image and ambition for whatever dreams she can conceive of, I know I have the freedom to do so because, unlike Fikere and Sopheap, she is safe, she is fed, and her education is taken care of.
Equally, I know my own life, in all it’s hectic variety of experiences, is as wonderful as it is because my single mother of three, unlike Ang, was able to work her way through university to better her job prospects.
And so it is because I am so grateful for my own and my precious little girl’s privilege, and because I want women and girls like Ang, Fikere and Sopheap to overcome poverty, that I have committed to be a part of Care’s Walk in Her Shoes Challenge.
It’s not hard. I’m just going to walk 50kms in one week. 50kms, drinking clean fresh water along my way. You could do it too. If you can’t manage 50, do 25. If you think I’m a wuss, you could do 100k’s.
Whatever you can fit into your crazy life would be great. Because facts show that when women are equipped with the proper resources, they help lift families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s worth the sore feet.