Dozens of volunteers participated in the seventh annual Walk In Her Shoes campaign in Vancouver on Sunday, in hopes of raising $100,000 to support women’s and girls’ health in Malawi.
Spearheaded by CARE Canada, the walk seeks to raise awareness of the 10,000 steps, which is about six kilometres, a woman or girl must walk on average to collect water, food or firewood in developing countries around the world. As a result, young girls in these countries are put in danger or miss out on school, while women are left with little time to earn incomes.
“I was struck by the degree of hardship I witnessed in Malawi,” said Joanne Gassman, a CARE volunteer who visited the country in July 2018 to see first-hand CARE’s programs in action.
Nearly three million people don’t have enough to eat, about 68 per cent of women are illiterate, while one in four girls give birth to their first child between the ages of 15 and 19, said Gassman.
“When I saw the difference CARE’s program is making by teaching these courageous and proud people to become self-supporting, I was both touched and more determined than ever to raise the funds so desperately needed.”
Funds from this year’s walk will go toward CARE’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The program works to improve women’s and babies’ nutrition by providing individual and group nutrition counselling and education, tools to plant community gardens, building water wells and systems to provide clean water access, and boosting a village savings and loans program.
Sunday’s event will be followed by a second walk hosted by students at local schools on March 8, which is also International Women’s Day.