MEDIA RELEASE – VANCOUVER, JULY 26, 2014

Media Release Contact: Sarah Jamieson

RUN4ACAUSE

Wonder Women RUN4MOM 2Tel: 604 789 0203 / Email: sarahjams604@gmail.com.

VANCOUVER – July 21, 2014

 

 

WONDER WOMEN RUN4MOM VIRTUAL EVENT

Vancouver’s Sarah Jamieson, founder of RUN4ACAUSE joins forces once again with North Shore CMHA & Battered Women’s Support Services for the annual RUN4MOM campaign. An annual run event, that aims to break the silence and stigma associated with domestic violence, mental illness and addiction.

 

What is RUN4MOM?

Wonder Women RUN4MOM is a memorial run in memory of Nora Lynn Donnelly, a real life SuperMom, to honor the life and struggles of Sarah’s mom. It is also a movement to honor all the exceptional women in our lives who struggle with significant life challenges; like mental illness, addiction and domestic violence.

We aim to build an inclusive society where people can learn, live, work, share, and be active to help them realize the power of their resiliency without their experience of mental illness or history of domestic violence being a barrier to pursuing their lives.

What is a Virtual Event?

RUN4ACAUSE & RUN4MOM have partnered with FitCause to act as a conduit between these great charities and participants. Using fitness applications and activity trackers, like Nike Plus, Moves app or FitBits participants contribute their activity (miles, steps, exercises, etc.) to campaigns to raise awareness for non-profit organizations, as well as raise donations as they achieve milestones. All you need is wearable technology and a fitness activity tracker and your will to act. Choose to #move4good at any time on July 26th and then sync your activity to add to our community mileage.

When is this event?

Join us on Saturday July 26th and help us break the silence. This charity challenge coincides with the #RUN4MOM Vancouver event 15.7km, supporting Battered Women’s Services and Canadian Mental Health Association.

Who are we raising funds for?

North Shore CMHA – STEPS Youth Program: The goal of STEPS Program is for youth experiencing anxiety and depression to improve their mental health through physical fitness activities as well as through connecting and relating to others with similar struggles.

Battered Women’s Support Services: We contribute to the freedom and liberation of girls and women from violence and to empower our community through training and education programs.

How Can You Get Involved?

  1. Join our virtual event here: http://www.fitcause.com/missions/wonder-women-run4mom
  2. Consider donating here: https://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=37980
  3. Come out to our PEP RALLY on Thursday July 24, held at My Sister’s Closet, the social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) at 1092 Seymour street from 6pm – 8pm. Enjoy nibbles, meet the people behind the scenes and SHOP mens and women’s fashion. All proceeds to BWSS.

 

For more information please contact Sarah Jamieson directly.

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07.26.14 Wonder Women RUN4MOM

“ A new journey to be started.
A new promise to be fulfilled.
A new page to be written.
Go forth unto this waiting world with pen in hand, all you young scribes,
the open book awaits.
Be creative.
Be adventurous.
Be original.
And above all else, be young.
For youth is your greatest weapon, your greatest tool.
Use it wisely.” – Wonder Woman

wonder_mom_

This was my opening quote at the TEDxKidsBC Ted Talks and it would prove to be, a serendipitous coincidence of things to come. Wonder Woman would become a symbol of the evolution of my mother’s annual run. Every year around July 31st I organize a small gathering of committed, passionate people to join me in honoring women everywhere – wonder women – who have endured, who have prevailed, who have overcome great adversity. These are women of resilience.

On July 31st, 2008 my mother, Nora Lynne Donnelley would pass peacefully from a battle that ranged for nearly 20 years. A survivor of domestic violence; she was diagnosed with bi polar disease and battled the villains of substance abuse. A deep, dark path and on this day we lost a great woman to suicide. This year I chose to call #RUN4MOM “Wonder Women” because that is what we are. That is how we will be remembered. The legacy we leave will not include the labels of stigma of a disease.

Tell Your Story

We live in the stories we tell ourselves. Superhero stories speak loudly and boldly to our greatest fears, deepest longings, and highest aspirations. Superheroes are not afraid to be hopeful, not embarrassed to be optimistic, nor are they afraid to go into those dark places, where most fear to go. Yet, they give rise to those human experiences that we all year for – to be everything we can be.

Disease is not an identity. This run symbolizes a call to action to break the silence of stigma and to understand the complex spectrum of mental illness and the effects long-term domestic abuse can have on a person and their family. The more we share, learn, ask questions, offer answers the more we rise above and create our own resiliency. That is what this run symbolizes.

Wonder_Woman_1e04b_450x450Go Inward

Bestselling author Deepak Chopra along with his son Gotham Chopra delineate the wisdom that is available to us in the words and deeds of today’s superheroes. Moreover, that superhero’s can be our greatest teachers when it comes to igniting our compassion, courage, strength and creativity from within.

“Here are ten principles to observe in your daily life that will also help shape your brain by modifying your perception and your behaviour:

For every challenge, the superhero’s solution is to go inward.

Exercise: When faced with a challenge, do not react. Stop, go within, and ask what your creative opportunity is. Live the question until you move into the answer.

For everything that exists, its opposite also exists.

Exercise: When faced with a crisis, identify the factors or qualities contributing to it. Focus on the opposite.

The superhero’s perception scans the whole range of existence from smallest of the smallest to the biggest of the biggest.

Exercise: Look at every object in its wholeness. Know that it is the whole universe localized.

The superhero is independent of the good and bad opinions of others.

Exercise: Realize that only the ego thinks in terms of superior or inferior. At the level of being, you are above or beneath no one.

The superhero never gives in to self-importance.

Exercise: Do not be offended by people’s behavior.

The superhero takes on the problems of the world.

Exercise: Ask yourself how you can help, how you can serve.

The superhero is always aligned with the evolutionary impulse.

Exercise: In every situation, ask what the greater good is.

The superhero executes action with impeccability, but is detached from the result.

Exercise: Focus on the process, not the outcome.

The superhero is the exquisite combination of dynamic action and stillness of mind.

Exercise: Even in the midst of chaos and turbulence, be an alert witness to your own actions and reactions.

The superhero is the best listener in the world.

Exercise: Listen with your body. Listen with your heart. Listen with your mind. Listen with your soul. Never judge while listening.”

07.26.14

In 5 days join us and choose to #move4good. You can walk, step, run or just move – and contribute to the community of those who are standing up against violence and stigma. All it takes is your will to act.

To find out more please visit www.fitcause.com and join our mission “”Wonder Women RUN4MOM.”

To consider donating please follow this link. All proceeds raised will go towards Battered Women’s Support Services and the STEPS Youth Program of the North Shore CMHA.

To be the change…. Starts here.

If it means interfering in an ensconced, outdated system, to help just one woman, man or child…I’m willing to accept the consequences.” -Wonder Woman

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LIFE IS A MARATHON

“I WILL NEVER STOP RUNNING…”

 

finish line

Was one of the lines I was recently asked to read for an upcoming inspirational video with the company FitCause; an amazing company using the innovation behind wearable technology and the power of #moveforgood in the community.

It’s a question I have never sat down and really asked myself. Would I ever consider stopping running?

RUN4ACAUSE had a very unique start, and a long incubation period, because it started merely as a hobby, an idea that turned into a 10 year passion project. It was never meant to be a non profit, or an organization, hell, I never anticipated I would have stand in front of a Tedx audience, on a treadmill in compression gear, using Superhero ideology as a means of inspiration. RUN4ACAUSE was born out of a time and need to find my way, my purpose. In it’s infancy, running was something I was never really good at. I never stood out in sports, frankly, I was always released from teams for having a border line skills. I was told I had a big heart, but I just didn’t have the height, or the speed. So I turned my attention to sports I could perform solo, and it became my daily practice. As I conquered running one block, I ran 2, then a mile, than 26.2 and so on, and started entering races; and as it turned out I found a voice. That voice began to tell my story, and it began to advocate for those who didn’t quite yet have a voice.

Over the years, and with the extra push of my TEDxKids@BC talk, RUN4ACAUSE came out of the shadows of quietly assisting the community and into the light with the sole vision and mission to empower people, no matter what their level of activity was and to use their beloved sport as a vehicle for change, to give back to the community. RUN4ACAUSE has never been about fundraising, yes I have had a monetary goal, but the foundation has been built upon connecting people to causes, or businesses to community projects. It has been about awareness and showcasing to the world – that no matter what you go through, you are never alone. Creativity and connection is my main currency.

So to go back to the line in our video I WIL NEVER STOP RUNNING; is a true fact.

Running isn’t something I do, It’s not mere exercise; it’s what keeps me sane, and it’s what keeps me moving forward in life. Running is a part of who I am, it’s a part of my soul. It is woven into the very fabric of my being, not because I merely enjoy it, but because I have incorporated it into every aspect of what I love in my life.

A marathon takes perseverance, persistence and will power. A marathon takes courage and the ability to deeply accept and understand our deepest fears and we must accept who we are at that very moment, from start to finish line. A marathon, as well as in life, we are asked to dig deep, to honor both our strength and our vulnerability and to be honest in the face of that very fear. We are asked to sit with fear, and speak to it, to understand its cause and effect, rather than bury and repress it within us.

The Marathon teaches us the biggest life’s lessons. Every race we enter, we are innately asked to reflect on our purpose, and why are “here” in that very moment. What have we worked so hard for? The marathon can be our greatest teacher, our ally and our mentor, and the countless hours of training can be a great tool to process, accept and honor that journey.

In that moment of excitement and physical anguish, we start to accept who we are, where we come from, and who we still have yet to become. It is a journey of many feats, of peaks and valley’s. It is a journey not for the faint of heart, but for those who wish to challenge their limits, and for those who understand that opportunity and growth lies in the very space we hold so dear, and the very place where we most likely fear. We know that amongst the self-sabotaging bullsh*t those vast 26.2 miles of endless terrain, will, without a doubt alter the very fabric of our being. It is a testament to the our character, our dedication and our self compassion where there have been many failures along the way, but every time we fall we have the courage to get back up. That, in it’s own right is a success because with every step it got us to here – to that very start line. And on that start line, I stand beside hundreds of other people, who have worked hard to get here. And for those who cannot run with me, I carry all those names and face with me every step of the way.

The marathon is the single most amazing feat I have achieved in my life and every time it feels like the first time I stood at that start line. As I approach the finish line, I know that this is not the end, but it is a new beginning, a new chapter. I can feel my heart beat, my body pushing forward with every mile, the salty-sweet taste of my own sweat, as if each droplet were a little bit of what I thought I feared leaving my body. It is overwhelming that feeling of accomplishment. It’s the accumulation of everything I have worked for; everything I have chosen to let go of; the pain of my past, the pain of loss, and everything I have chosen to let in; the joy of loving, the serenity that comes with being okay with who I am and why I am here, all of this together makes the necessary space for growth and transformation. Where we take all that is our current experiences and we turn it into a tool to build up our future.

That’s why I will never stop running. And at that finish line, you too will realize that the marathon is merely the birthplace for greatness and what you chose to do with that greatness is up to you. There is no greater teacher of life – than the marathon.

Ms-Marvel-31-Marvel-Comics

 

ABOUT FITCAUSE:

Keep an eye out for my new website coming soon! As a newly appointed FitCause Ambassador, there are many great things in store for RUN4ACAUSE and fo YOU!

FitCause is a marketing tool that empowers consumers as participants in the corporate giving ecosystem. Our platform acts as a conduit between corporations and charitable organizations by developing campaigns that quantify fitness data in fitness apps, and linking these accomplishments to corporate donations.

Using fitness applications and activity trackers, participants contribute their activity (miles, steps, exercises, etc.) to campaigns and unlock corporate donations as they achieve milestones. These milestones are celebrated, prompting participants to share via social channels as they selflessly become brand ambassadors by engaging in already planned activities.

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Mothers Day: The Lessons Learned in Love & Loss

mom and me

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.

You may not control all the events that happen to you,

But you can decide not to be reduced by them “

 

“It is the greatest gift you can give yourself – to forgive.”

“In the flush of loves light

We dare be brave

And suddenly we see

That love costs all that we are

And will ever be

Yet, it is only love

Which sets us free” – Maya Angelou

A Tribute to My Mother:

Love and forgiveness are two of the most powerful things in this world. Or at least they are to me. Learning these two words has been the hardest lessons of my life, and it is a continued path I walk to fully understand the scope and depth each has on me.

Mother’s day is a day where we honor those who brought us into the world, the amazing women who have dedicated their love to nurturing us, caring for us and loving us. It’s been 6 years since we lay my mother to rest, and it still feels as if it were yesterday. Losing someone is never easy; it is the ultimate cycle of life, the one thing we can never truly prepare for.

As her health started to steadily decline, we all knew it was only a matter of time before we would get the call. Every time an RCMP officer or Emergency nurse would call I wondered if it would be the last. It’s a devastating thing to watch someone you love so much, lose themselves in substance abuse and mental illness. You strive to not see them that way, to remember them as if you were still a child. I loved my mother, her beauty her childlike laugh, her desire to help people, even on her lowest of days. In her sobriety, I would catch glimpses of this brilliance, and in her darkest hours I would hear disgruntled, discombobulated stories of the horror we endured decades earlier, from a life she no longer lived, abuse from a man who was long gone from our lives.

That’s the thing about trauma and abuse – it’s a lifelong healing process. It’s memories still haunt you from time to time, the fear sometimes creeps back in to remind you of the power it has. Some of us find solitude in trying to forget, to erase its memory from our very existence, but the reality is you can’t. Our brain doesn’t work like that; life doesn’t work like that. What you cannot forget, you can learn to forgive.

I have learned that when you choose to forgive yourself, you start to break down the walls of armor you build up to protect yourself from very thing you are seeking – and that is love. In the short term it is easier to stay angry, it is easier to feel sad, disconnected and at a distance, but the void is never filled in this space. It can never be healed and we can never move forward. I tried to teach my mom this, and I know to an extent she heard it some, but for so many years I slept with guilt and shame as a persistent bedfellow I could not shake off. I felt more comfortable in the victimization of what happened to “me,” and for a time forgot what happened to her.

A year before she passed, she was sober for a few months, went to rehab and for the first time in nearly a decade I had my mom back. We would sit and chat, we would share and some of that armor I had built up started to diminish. It was a brilliant and beautiful time with her and it would be our last time in that sacred space. A few weeks after, she would slip back into booze and prescription drugs and we would lose her again and this time her sun set would not see another sunrise.

For nearly a year, I would wake up every day, wander the world and after the sun would set, we retire to do it all over again. In this year, I never saw the sun, a soul cannot flourish without the light of life, without love present and I felt nothing, I felt a void, a numbness, and with that a deep and silent darkness. I had no job, no place to live, I couch surfed, I lost friends, my closest people wondered if I was losing it – and to an extent I was and I did. Everything I had worked so hard for; meant nothing.

A person cannot survive like this – I was on life support and red lining fast. Funny thing though, I never fell down the road of drugs or alcohol. Instead, I funneled my energy in RUN4ACAUSE. All that rage; that hurt, that confusion I pondered how to make meaning out of all of this. I found myself re inventing my life and my inspiration, as childish as it may sound – was in stories of our iconic Superheroes.

And one night, at the lowest of my lows, I found myself wondering if life was worth living at all. Yes, I pondered suicide, but not because I wanted to die, but because I wanted to live, I wanted to feel something – anything. I had reached the fork in the road, the end of the proverbial rope of bullshit.

Could I take my own life – no.

Did I want to live like this any longer – hell no.

Then what’s left? The answer is simple – change.

That night I realized that I was nearing becoming my inner villain. We all have one, just like we all have the potential to be a Superhero. That line; that divides a villain from a Superhero – is forgiveness. A villain acts out of rage, vengeance and with no thought to mercy. A true hero, a superhero – understands humility, honor and even though justice must be served, does so by exhausting all avenues of non violence and peacemaking. The only way to know this path, is to have walked it and to be brave enough to forgive yourself.

Forgiveness takes courage. It takes a certain kind of bravery to move past anger, guilt and shame; all the emotions that seek to take you down deeper into the abyss of darkness. It takes understanding that even though the sun cannot outlast it’s own sun set, that it will indeed, rise again tomorrow with a dawn and a new day.

Forgiveness is accepting that nobody is perfect, not you or I; or anybody.

Forgiveness is recognizing that we all make mistakes, which make us stumble at times, when we strive so hard to stay upright.

Forgiveness is remembering the we are all human, and in being human means that we are all so much more than we give ourselves credit to be.

Forgiveness is in the understanding that sometimes the world gives us more than we can gracefully handle, and that sometimes that in handling the ugly, dirty, not so perfectness, but ever endearing part of life – like loss… means revealing to the world the absolute beauty of your own authentic vulnerability and what lies in your heart.

Every year on this day I am reminded of this journey, and even though I have lost a mother, she is never truly gone, because her lessons are still to this day – I am learning.

The biggest lessons she has taught me  – is to never back down from what you love and dream of in this world.

To stand tall against all odds, even when others choose to live on their knees – you help the up.

That violence is never the answer and in the eyes of our creator, man and woman are equal – and that is a powerful thing.

Lastly, that the most beautiful thing about a sun set, is that there is never really darkness, because once the sun is set, there are stars to light the sky. These stars remind us that there are unlimited possibilities and if we can only choose to move from a place of love and forgiveness – anything is possible, anything can be overcome. And with this we each have the power to change our world, and the world around us.

This is a tribute to my mother, my best friend, my greatest teacher – Nora Lynne Donnelley 1951-2008.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday July 25th, 2014 #RUN4MOM Vancouver event. This will also be a virtual event through Fit Cause! This means anyone around the globe can participate. Supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association (North Shore Branch) and Battered Women’s Support Services.

Honorable Mentions to those who inspire me and who have been a great resource for growth and transformation, as well as a little self love:

Brene Brown

Gabby Bernstein

Maya Angelou

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WIHS 2014 Featured Project: ABDISHE “Hope for Her” – Ethiopia

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Next up on our list of featured projects for the Walk In Her Shoes 103km Relay Run is the “ABDISHE” project located in Ethiopia.

This particular project has a special place in my heart because it focuses on strengthening women’s livelihoods through economic empowerment and access to markets. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that this also happens to be Leg 1: Kits to Grouse Mountain to Ambleside – my leg!!!

The Abdishe project is designed to ensure women are able to take a greater role in the decision-making process at both the household and community level. Women will have a stronger say in areas concerning what food is planted, eaten and sold; and how land is used. This is coupled with work to support women to be more financially independent and recognized as entrepreneurs.

Women provide the bulk of the farm labour in Ethiopia, but have little control over decisions that could help lift their households out of poverty. While an increasing number of women have started small businesses, they are often unable to access the financial resources to make those businesses thrive.

Abdishe, which means “Hope for her” in the local language of Ethiopia’s Oromia region, focuses on vulnerable households in the Fedis district and surrounding neighbourhoods in the Oromia region of central Ethiopia.

QUICK FACTS:

Start Date: 2012
End Date: 2016
Total impact: 31,400 people

ABOUT ETHIOPIA:

  • Estimates taken between 2010 and 2012 suggest that roughly 34 million people in Ethiopia are considered undernourished. (FAO)
  • As of 2011, 40 per cent of the population does not get the minimum level of nutrition recommended by the World Health Organization.
  • Over 52 per cent of women are estimated to have no education. (WHO, 2011)

As part of this project, CARE will:

  • Work with households to increase the production of healthy and nutritious food. This includes training farmers to improve yields and grow a diversified diet and also the creation of backyard gardens so families can feed their children fresh, healthy vegetables.
  • Conduct training sessions and cooking demonstrations for schools and community members on nutrition, farming and healthy eating.
  • Support women in establishing village savings and loans associations (VSLAs). Through the VSLAs, women gain not only financial resources, but training in critical technical and business management skills that help ensure the success of their businesses.
  • Support women and their businesses in building links to formal financial services, government programs and markets where they can sell their products for a fair price.
  • Work with men and boys in the community to raise awareness of gender equality issues. This involves demonstrating how sharing the household workload, including women in decision-making, and giving women greater control over resources will ultimately benefit the family and community.
  • Work with the Government of Ethiopia as well as cultural and religious institutions in the community to build an environment where women and their businesses can grow and prosper.

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GOALS:

  • The Abdishe project will partner with 6,400 women and 1,000 men, supporting them to earn better incomes so their families can afford a healthier diet.
  • Women will have better access to financial resources, as well as increased participation in household and community decision-making.

SUPPORTERS:

This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. All proceeds raised will be leveraged and matched 3:1!

To support this project follow this link: http://careca.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General?team_id=2270&pg=team&fr_id=1110

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WIHS 2014 FEATURED PROJECT: Bolivia – “Tukuy Yanapana” means “We all collaborate”

bolivia-banner

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. Not everyone starts from the same place on the path out of poverty. Lack of education for girls contributes to early marriage, higher birth rates, and lower income. Discriminatory laws prohibit women from owning or inheriting property, holding bank accounts, or prosecuting abusers. 

CARE is promoting the role of women in economic activities. As we work with communities to strengthen the local economy, we are ensuring the meaningful participation of women. For example, meetings and training sessions educate women and men about gender roles in labour and raise the visibility of women’s unpaid work.

RUN4ACAUSE + WIHS 2014

The Walk IN Her Shoes 103km Relay Run supports International Women’s Day by showcasing our most powerful resource – women! The Leg 4 of our 103km supports economic leadership for women in Latin America.

Women in Bolivia face ongoing struggles in healthcare, maternal health and cultural change, living in a country that is traditionally misogynist, although the constitution guarantees equal rights for women and men. Economically and politically, women have recently garnered more influence in decision making. According to the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme, in Bolivia “men receive more and better education than women, receive increased and better health assistance than women, and have the possibility to generate greater income while working less. Our hope is that from providing support through our efforts of running and raising awareness we can reduce this burden for women.

FAST FACTS:

  • Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America.
  • More than half of Bolivia’s population lives below the poverty line, living on less than $2 a day. (WHO, 2011)
  •  Over 67 per cent of women have only primary school education or none at all. (WHO, 2011)
  • Women in the project’s area are estimated to make 67 cents for every dollar a man earns.

 bolivia-women

FEATURED PROJECT: TUKUY YANAPANA PROJECT

PROJECT: Collaborating for Local Economic Development.

LOCATION: Bolivia– TUKUY YANAPANA PROJECT (2012-2016)

TOTAL IMPACT: 54,690 people.

CARE’s Tukuy Yanapana project works with local municipalities to boost the profitability of small businesses so families can enjoy better incomes for years to come.  

Farmers in the provinces of Chuquisaca experience poor productivity while local businesses lack strong links to markets for their products. Bolivia also has one of the highest levels of income inequality between women and men in Latin America. Barriers continue to prevent women from participating in and benefiting equally from small businesses.

GOALS:

  • Improve the profitability and competiveness of small family farms and businesses in four municipalities of Chuquisaca. This will be done through improving municipal governance, education and training, and strengthening gender equality.
  • Encourage the creation of municipal strategies that ensure sustainable and fair economic development through farmer and civil society participation.
  • Work directly with more than 1,500 small-scale farmers and small business owners, both women and men, and indirectly benefit more than 53,000 community members.

Full link here: https://care.ca/our-work/what-we-do/food-security/tukuy

PROJECT DETAILS

Tukuy Yanapana means “We all collaborate” in Quechua, the language spoken by the people of the Chuquisaca region of Bolivia.  As part of this project, CARE will:

  • Increase the participation of women and girls in the economy by giving them a voice in the decision-making process for the creation of new economic regulations and policies.
  • Work with municipal governments to develop policies and regulations that support farmers and businesses and increase their competitiveness. CARE will help form partnerships between governments and local organizations that support fair and transparent local economic development initiatives.
  • Promote the role of women in economic activities through awareness-raising initiatives such as teaching women about market competitiveness and training local government and private sector actors in gender equality.
  • Educate women and men about gender roles in labour and raise the visibility of women’s unpaid work through a series of meetings and training sessions.
  • Support small farms and businesses in improving production, management and commercialization.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? 

To Join: Walk In Her Shoes 103km Relay Run Leg 5: Team “Whizzle Whuzzle RUN4ACAUSE + WIHS”  – email Sarah@fittotrain.com 

To Support this project: http://careca.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General/1945593568?pg=team&fr_id=1110&team_id=2310

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WIHS 2014 FEATURED PROJECT: Afghanistan “BEACON” Project

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Our experience shows us that, when equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.

Sunday March 9th will be the 4th consecutive relay run for the Vancouver Walk In Her Shoes 103km Relay Run campaign and in anticipation I will be featuring stories of the projects, communities and countries we will be supporting. The BEACON project is one of many amazing projects being supported by the Walk In Her Shoes Campaign.

FEATURED COUNTRY: Afghanistan

The BEACON Project
Start Date: 2012
End Date: 2015
Total impact: 25,000 students (approximately 60 per cent female) and 800 teachers (40 per cent female)

Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places in the world to be if you are a woman. More women die in pregnancy and childbirth than almost anywhere else in the world.

CARE first established its mission in Afghanistan in 1961, but suspended activities after the Russian invasion of 1979. Resuming activities in 1989 from a new base in Peshawar, Pakistan, CARE delivered assistance to Afghanistan from across the border until 2002 when it shifted its main office back to Kabul.

Fast Facts:

  • 1 in 50 women will die during pregnancy or childbirth—one every 2 hours.
  • 9 out 10 women are illiterate and the rate of domestic abuse is one of the highest in the world.
  • The average life expectancy of a woman is 44, one of the lowest in the world.
  • More than 77 per cent of the Afghan population lives in rural remote areas and 45 per cent of the population is under 15 years old.
  • Afghanistan is ranked 175 out of the 186 countries listed in the 2012 Human Development Index, a tool that ranks countries based on life expectancy, education and population income.

When You Educate a Girl, You Educate a Community:

Only 40% of Afghan girls attend elementary school, and only 1 in 20 girls attend school beyond the sixth grade. There are approximately three times more boys attending school than girls. Many Afghan families will only permit their daughters to attend all-girls schools close to home and few such schools exist. Other families believe it is unnecessary for girls to be educated.

CARE Canada is working to empower women and girls in the rural communities of Afghanistan. This means providing them with better access to quality education and removing the barriers that prevent many young girls from attending school. By offering classrooms closer to home and providing training and support to trusted members of communities to become teachers, CARE aims to improve gender equality in community-based classrooms across Afghanistan.

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Leg 5: TEAM FIERCE RUN4ACAUSE + WIHS 2014

This leg starts at Spanish banks for a 3km run to Wreck Beach, where the relay team will perform a carry station relay. Much like women in- developing countries who need to walk an average of 6km per day for basic water, food or life necessities, this team will be tasked to perform 4km of food, water and firewood carry’s up 475 stairs – repeated as a team. This should take around…. 25 repeats of the stairs with the 3km run there and back for a total of 10km!

The Basic Education for Afghanistan Consortium’s (BEACON) ultimate goal is to ensure that children and youth have the knowledge and skills to be productive members of Afghan society. The project will focus on increasing the accessibility of community-based education in rural areas, while building the sustainability of programs through community and government support.

Although enrollment in grades 1 through 12 has increased to more than 7.3 million students in 2011, approximately five million school-aged children are still thought to be out of school and 1.2 million, though registered, are permanently absent. Despite an increase in enrollment, girls still only make up 39 per cent of the primary school population.

Goals

  • Achieve a noticeable benefit for 25,000 students, including children (at least 60 per cent girls), youth  and women in remote rural areas with greater access to education,      resources and supportive learning environments.
  • Provide 800 teachers (at least 40 per cent women) with effective teaching methods and resources.
  • Increase the capacity for the Ministry of Education to support community-based education on a long-term sustainable basis.
  • Engage the community in educational activities in partnership with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.

CARE Afghanistan Video: http://youtu.be/jQjh_nl2tQg

CARE Afghanistan Info: http://www.care.org/country/afghanistan

Project Details at CARE Canada: http://care.ca/our-work/what-we-do/economic-development/beacon

How Can You Help?

  • Join this team and support a great cause AND get healthy
  • Support this project and donate; every $1 the Canadian Government will donate $3
  • Share this post and help spread our message on facebook and twitter ( @SarahMJamieson)

To Join: Walk In Her Shoes 103km Relay Run Leg 5: “Team Fierce RUN4ACAUSE + WIHS” https://secure3.convio.net/careca/site/TRR/297181345

To Support this project: http://careca.convio.net/site/TR/Events/General/297181345?pg=team&fr_id=1110&team_id=2360

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