“I am Powerful.” I am a GIRL. Bright, able, out-spoken, soft-spoken, serious, spirited, adventurous, curious, and strong. I am me. I follow. I lead. I learn. I teach. I change my clothes, my hair, my music, and my mind. I have a voice that speaks, ideas to stand on, and a world to step up to. I matter and so does she. She may look different and talk different, but she is like me. She is a GIRL. And together we will rise up. Because while we are strong, together we are stronger. And together, our voices will change the world. You see a Girl. We See the Future. We are powerful, We are a force to be reckoned with. – The Girlafesto.
Women Empowered and the Walk In Her Shoes Events are an opportunity to showcase what women and girls have to endure every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times per day – which is walking 6km to fetch water, fire wood and basic life necessities; which, most often, leaves very little time for school or the opportunity to seek life growth options outside the family home.
The millennium development goals were establish with the coming together of 189 nations to free people from extreme poverty and extreme violations and preventable conditions against humanity. Even though we have made significant progress over the past decade, it is not enough and we are falling behind as a global community.
From a leadership position, the focus must shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness and in order to do this, we need a paradigm shift in the development discourse in which reducing poverty and inequality, generating growth, strengthening democratic governance, building resilience, and achieving environmental sustainability are seen as strongly interconnected: in pursuing one, we can advance them all – slow and steady. One of the soul reasons I support CARE Canada is because they are commitment to just this and thier commitment to providing opportunities to women and girls.
A steady state of inclusion, of breaking barriers, of unconventional means that can catapult this revolution that is currently building momentum. These changes cannot solely be done by the leaders of the world summit roundtable, but by harnessing the contribution found in the individual participation, from grass roots initiatives and small contributions that each of us has to power to harness. As part of this global community, we each have a moral responsibility to do our part to leave it in a state far better, than once we arrived. Right here and right now – you are making that contribution, that investment to yourself and to your community.
439 DAYS OF SUCCESS
Last International Women’s Day I made a commitment to run a minimum of 6km per day for 15 months (439 days) through my RUN4ACAUSE Idea that encourages youth and people of all ages alike to harness the potential and power behind the sports philanthropy movement.
Whether your talent is a sport, music, dance, the written word – whatever that talent may be, our talents may be different, but our vision is one of the same – and that vision is one rooted in community and connection. The combined result of each of our efforts is a representation of that commitment, and we are united in those efforts.
This past weekend has been one filled with inspiration. Over 50 people came out to share in Friday’s “Women Empowered” movie and salon night, and Walk In Her Shoes Walk/Run Event.
Over the course of the last 15 months, I have (quite literally) run up against many obstacles; dislocated ribs, compressed femoral joints, lumbo-pelvic dysfunction, SI joint pain, food poisoning, blisters galore and my personal favorite – severe abdominal pain for 3 days with an intestinal obstruction. All of which, has allowed me space to contemplate my own personal journey in understanding my connection to this global cause and to my own participation in the world.
On Sunday May 20th at 6am I embarked on the 101km, the final day of this year long commitment, and I felt exceptionally well throughout most of the first few legs. Heading into the 42km mark I felt physically the best I have ever felt in an ultra distance, but as the weather started to change, the rain started to pour and the temperature dropped; my body started to breakdown. As an athlete, internal pride and determination start to take over and we innately start to push ourselves to limits that are physically taxing, and in this space and time we face our fears that manifest to slow us down.
Yet, we must also remember that we cannot control everything, and in this case being stuck on the seawall, 10km from the service vehicle, I would have to brave the cold, completely soaked, muscles and fascia stiff, hands white, nails purple and close to minor hypothermia. Pain is not a new to me, on many occasions it has reminded me that I am alive, reminded me that there is something to fight for, and a motivator as such, but at the same time, humans also have this interesting and complex idea that in order to succeed, we must also suffer. We focus more on the adversity, then we do the experience.
“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.” ~ John Heywood
As I was surrounded by several people walking along side of me, I realized that this was the reason this run was taking place. Not the distance, or the finish line – but the people who came together to share in the experience, to share in the idea of change. At 67km, my body broken – my spirit was ignited and for the first time, I felt I didn’t need the “finish” line, I didn’t need to prove myself, because this run really, has never been about me, but about connecting local people with global people and their fight for their rights and opportunities to live the best life they can.
Three of my friends; whom I would like to recognize, came out to support our cause, and succeeded in achieving a PB.
• Dolan Ramsey – Walked in Her Shoes for leg 1, for the full 27km, gaining himself a PB. Next up Marathon 🙂
• Emeric Le Morvan – Walked in Her Shoes for Legs 1, 2,3 and 4 for a mileage of 67km, never running over a 29km – this is a huge PB.
• Melissa Pow – Walked in Her Shoes for Legs 3 and 4 for a mileage of 24km, a PB (after running the BMO half a couple weeks before).
Running alongside these 3, and the many more people who came out to support our cause – is truly what this day was all about – great people, great company, great conversation and a great cause – empowering women and girls.
Guided by the aspirations of local communities CARE’s vision is to seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. CARE’s poverty fighting projects reached more than 122 million people in 84 countries last year.
This year we have raised $5,000, so far and we still have a few weeks before the deadline of the campaign. One of the largest challenges I have faced with this campaign is getting more people involved. We must move from a place of “saying we will commit,” to the act “of committing.” Deeds are stronger than words, and change can only happen through righteous, consistent action. If we all acted on goodness and made it part of our integral lifestyle, we could see a massive shift in our global world – for the good.
One of the fundamental conversation pieces that the panel spoke on during the “Women Empowered” event was the need for a conscious shift on the personal/micro level to inspire change at the macro level. Cliff Harvey, one of the local panel speakers, and my health sponsor…. and author of “Time Rich Cash Optional,” states in Chapter 11 “Selflessness & Charity,”
“One of the ways in which we cannot only survive, but thrive as humanity will be to replace this paradigm (of taking) with one of giving, Within a giving paradigm we would instead support each other, support the planet, and give without expecting a transactional return. We need this change, not only to focus on saving the planet, but to foster our own spiritual growth and development, and yes happiness.”
All of the speakers touched on what purpose means to them, and that shifting to a place of “follow your heart” and connecting with one another is at the root of fundamental change, and I would agree. The “Women Empowered Project” by Phil Borges, is a true representation of the strength behind each of us to live a life of great potential.
Learning so much from CARE and the communities they work with, I am happy to conclude that with this post I pledge to continue my work in this field and speak as an advocate for women and girls rights.
This year my measurements are: 7620-28- 121,920,00
- 7620 – kilometers ran over 15 months (439 days)
- 28 – the year my mom passed (this year has been honoring her strength as a woman)
- 121,920,00 – steps I have taken for Walk In Her Shoes CARE Canada
Thank you to all those who came out for the 2012 WIHS Campaign, and for all those who sponsored and supported:
- Melissa Skinner – Leg 3 and 4 (24km)
- Sanaz Germani – Leg 3 (6km)
- Scott Robarts – Leg 3 + 2km (10km)
- Dolan Ramsey – Leg 1 (27km)
- Emeric Le Morvan – Legs 1,2,3,4 (67km)
- Matthew Clayton – (Cycling Guru Eboost Support Team)
- Jason Harrison – Leg 4 (10km)
- Victor Wong – Leg 4 (10km)
- Justin Brokop – Leg 5 (was ready to rock it, but I had to tap out before Leg 5) – I owe you a celebratory high five.
- Alexandra Borys Leg 2.5 – (came out to the transition in Edgemont at 31km)
- Cliff Harvey – Leg 1 and 5 – (cheering squad in kits)
- Daniel Lidstone – Leg 5 (cheering squad in kits)
- Bruce Jamieson – Support & my Pops – my rock
- North Shore Athletics (Training Sponsor)
- Eboost Canada (Fuel Sponsor)
- NetteWorks (Women’s Network)
- CARE Canada Staff (Walk In Her Shoes Mother Ship)
WOMEN EMPOWERED EVENT PANELISTS *AMAZING*:
- Sapna Dayal – imagine1day
- Aliya Dossa – TedxKids@BC Speaker 2011
- Alexandra Borys – M.A International Relations
- Jessica Robson – lululemon athletics & a little more good
- Loretta Cella – Passion Foundation
- Janet Kreda – Senior Housing Planner for Metro Vancouver
- Jordan Bower – The Man Who Walked to Mexico
- Cliff Harvey – Author of “Time Rich Cash Optional”
Next year…. let’s make it a relay!!! 103km (103 years of International Women’s Day)