What is CARE's Walk In Her Shoes?
Walk In Her Shoes raises critical funds for CARE’s international programs that improve the lives and outcomes for women and girls living in poverty. Walk In Her Shoes brings to life the challenges that women and girls face each day, while working towards a future where they can realize their full potential and live out their dreams.
The program is a virtual walk challenge that takes place from March 8 to March 14, 2017, which means that you can participate wherever you are, individually or as a team. When you take part in Walk In Her Shoes, you’ll experience a transformative week of learning and walking, and you’ll gain an opportunity to create real impact for women and girls in poverty.
From March 8 to March 14, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by women and girls in poverty through personal stories, CARE’s program data, and your own daily 10,000 step challenge. As you learn, you’ll also fundraise for CARE programs that provide women and girls with the opportunity to realize their full human rights.
Why women and girls?
Every day, women and girls living in poverty are denied fundamental human rights like education, health care, and freedom – even though they are the key to a better future for their families and communities. Around the world, women work two-thirds of all working hours, earning only 10% of the world’s income. When women cannot contribute to their family’s and community’s economic development, a powerful resource goes untapped. That’s why CARE’s programs are defined by promoting gender equality and empowering women.
CARE’s Walk In Her Shoes takes place here in the U.S. and all over the world. Taking steps in solidarity with women and girls creates an understanding of the challenges so many of us face every day. So who is the person we walk alongside?
She is Safia
Before the addition of a well Safia and her classmates walked four miles a day to gather clean water.
She is Baby
Baby spent her days walking four kilometers back and forth to fetch water each day and then helping her husband farm until well past dark so the family could eat the next day.
She is Immaculate
She starts her day at 4:30 a.m., walking nearly 4 miles to the farm where she works until returning home, only to walk another 2.5 miles to draw water from a well.
She is Safia
Access to clean water is a blessing that could not have come at a better time for the students in the community of Nsuta Nyamebekyere in Ghana. Recently, one of the school’s students, Safia Osman, glowed with excitement as she served a friend a bowl of clean water fetched from the new well that CARE constructed for her school.
Before the addition of the well, Safia and her classmates walked four miles a day from their cocoa farming community to a stream in a nearby community called Nsuta. The time and energy they spent collecting water interfered with their learning. “I always return from the stream tired and sweaty,” said Safia, recounting her daily walk for water. “I felt very uncomfortable with my uniform always soaked after fetching water. I even would doze off while the teacher was teaching.”
Thanks to the new well, children — particularly girls — no longer have to walk so far to meet such a basic need for themselves and their families. The well gives them easy access to clean water for drinking, hand-washing and watering plants. And Safia and her friends — less tired and more energized — can focus on getting going to school and getting an education.
She is Baby
Baby Yelfaabasoglo vividly remembers the day four years ago when her children were chased from school because their school fees weren’t paid. It nearly broke her heart. She simply couldn’t afford the cost. Like most families in her village of Brifoh Maal in Upper West Ghana, she and her husband barely grew enough food to eat and didn’t have a nearby clean water source. Baby spent her days doing arduous work. She walked four kilometers back and forth to fetch water from the Black Volta River. Back home, she cooked supper and helped her husband farm until well past dark so they could eat the next day. Exhausted, she had very little time for her four children.
That was Baby’s never-ending routine. But then, a CARE project helped organize the community to build a borehole with hand pump so women and girls no longer had to walk long distances and spend so much time to collect water from a source shared by animals. This changed everything for Baby and she and the women of Brifoh Maal embraced new opportunities and empowered themselves to create lasting change. With her found time, Baby joined a CARE Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), and learned about earning and saving money. She found a deep community spirit with her fellow VSLA members. And recognizing her contributions, Baby’s husband gave her a parcel of land to farm. Today, Baby is a successful farmer and businesswoman. She grows rice, sells aquatabs for water sanitization and is starting to raise goats and pigs.
Women in Brifo Maal were once viewed as second-class citizens and had no say in household decisions. Now they are active participants in helping their families lead healthier lives, grow more crops, generate more money; and most importantly for Baby, “I can now pay my children’s school fees,” she says.
She is Immaculate
The rains left us with no choice but to sit inside a small brick house. The smell coming from the buildup of moisture surrounding the house is pungent. This is where Immaculate Kalenga lives, in a community in Malawi. Immaculate recently graduated from secondary school and lives with her 15-year-old sister, Brenda, who spends much of her time in primary school. With their 10 siblings all having married and moved out and Brenda in school, it falls to Immaculate to shoulder most of the workload at home.
She starts her day at 4:30 a.m., walking nearly 4 miles to the farm where she works until returning home to her chores, including sweeping, washing dishes and fetching firewood. Then Immaculate walks another 2.5 miles to draw water from a well that her family uses for cooking, drinking and bathing. The daily chores and water collection take their toll, especially stealing time that she could invest pursuing her dreams. She hopes to take the exams necessary to enter university, but every mile she walks for work is a step away from the studies necessary for her to succeed. “I am always working,” she says. “You know my mum is old and my younger sister is at school most of the time. I make sure there is food on the table.
When Immaculate finishes her work, she goes to bed, hoping for rest so she can do it again tomorrow. She also hopes for a university education – and the new opportunities that can bring. “Otherwise, this life is so tiring,” she says.