Together with our supporters, we at CARE are creating a movement of change makers. We know that poverty is an injustice and we are passionate about ending child marriage, gender-based violence, and the continued marginalization of women and girls. We are committed to creating a future where our children know the values of empathy, philanthropy, and action.
This is why we Walk In Her Shoes.
In developing countries around the world, girls and women walk an average of 10,000 steps each day to collect essentials like firewood or water. While they walk, their brothers attend school and husbands go to market. Because women and girls walk an average of six kilometres each day, it leaves little or no time to go to school or earn an income.
When women work, economies grow. And when women's share of household income increases, spending changes in ways that benefit children. Support ONE woman to overcome poverty, and she will bring FOUR people with her.
The funds you raise when you Walk In Her Shoes will help reduce the distance and time women and girls have to walk, time they can instead spend learning and earning and leading. Funds raised from the Walk In Her Shoes Challenge will support women and girls in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
Do you believe that a woman's potential is greater than her poverty? Will you walk the talk? Register for CARE's Walk In Her Shoes and start raising funds for women and girls today.
When you Walk In Her Shoes, you walk in solidarity with Jenny, Nyabel, Finase and Irene.
Jenny: Walking for healthcare
> Read Jenny’s story
The path to Simbari is a steep mountain track that zig-zags steeply through dense rainforest, crossing wild rivers and ravines, made dangerously slippery by muddy clay. Heavily pregnant women and sick, elderly villagers must travel this same path to access basic medical care.
Jenny had to give birth in the mountains while trying to reach the medical facility. “I felt scared and I was in pain. After the delivery I couldn’t walk.”
She worries about the health facility being so far away. In the wet season, the path becomes a raging rapid, washing entire trees away and destroying the makeshift cane bridges on its banks. If her children are sick, Jenny always tries to take them to get treatment, but sometimes it is not possible and they must stay in her village without medical care.
Closing the healthcare gap
To help address the healthcare gap in Jenny’s district, CARE is training village health volunteers to help provide basic health support, encourage pregnant women to attend health clinics, promote personal health and hygiene, and teach the community about diet and nutrition.
CARE also worked with the communities surrounding the river to replace several dangerous cane bridges, which were frequently washed away, with a new footbridge. The new bridge makes Jenny’s difficult journey less dangerous. Now, villagers are proud that those coming to and from Simbari can cross the river safely - even in the wet season.
Nyabel: Walking for safety
> Read Nyabel’s story
A few days before Christmas, soldiers attacked the town of Bongki, South Sudan. Hundreds of men, women and children were killed and homes were torched to the ground. Terrified, Nyabel and her family ran straight to the bush, aiming for the town of Panyang.
“We could hear the sounds of bombs and gunfire. We just had to keep moving,” said Nyabel. “There was no one directing us, we just knew the direction we had to go. We hoped that, if we reached Panyang, we could be safe.”
By morning, the family had reached Panyang and they rested on the outskirts of town. Within a few hours, however, fighting arrived in Panyang. The CARE-run hospital in the town was inundated, with CARE staff treating more than 200 gunshot-wound patients in a single day.
Nyabel and her family had to keep moving. Walking without shoes in thick bush at night, Nyabel's feet were cut and badly swollen. Despite this, she led the younger members of her family through the bush as her mother nursed Nyabel's baby brother, who was just days old.
"The situation just forces you to move. You just have to, even if you are tired."
By the time they reached Yida, three days later, they were exhausted and overwhelmed. A friend was able to give them space on the floor of his small house, but Nyabel's new brother was critically ill after the journey. He was taken to a temporary hospital for urgent treatment and he spent the next five months there.
Eight months on, the family is struggling with hunger. The children go to the bush daily to pick vegetables and edible plants but are still living on one simple meal per day of what the family calls ‘paper food’; usually a paste of mill flour and water.
“Despite all we’ve been through to get here, we’re still suffering. We’re still lacking a lot of things, like shelter and food,’ said Nyabel. 'I’m just hoping for peace, so that we can get the possibility of going to school, for a better future.”
CARE has supported Nyabel and her family with seeds and tools to grow food for the coming months. CARE is providing medical support, supplementary feeding for malnourished children, sanitation services and other relief supplies to families across South Sudan’s hardest hit states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei. But more support is desperately needed.
Nyabel’s story is far from unique. By choosing to Walk In Her Shoes and raise money for CARE, you making it possible for us to be there for people like Nyabel, when they most need our support.
Finase: Walking for water
> Read Finase’s story
To collect water for her family, Finase would wake before dawn and set out with a 25-litre container, walking along a muddy, slippery path to get to the nearest water source. That water source was a spring, which cows, donkeys, goats and sheep also used as a drinking hole.
“I was walking to fetch water that was making me sick and could kill me,” says Finase.
"When I was walking to fetch water I would think about the other students in class…I wished I was there with them. I was embarrassed that I didn’t pass grade three and had to re-sit a year."
Finase also missed school because she would get sick with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
The muddy water Finase was walking hours to collect was making her brothers and sisters sick too. Her mother recalls, “My children were pale, lifeless and cried a lot. As soon as they got a little stronger, they would get sick again. I felt there was nothing I could do to make them better." But without a water pump nearby, Finase had no choice but to collect and give her family filthy water from unprotected springs to drink.
A few years ago, CARE workers began working with the families in Finase's village to work out the best locations to install water pumps. Now, Finase still helps with family chores and she still collects water several times a day, but the walk is much shorter and the water she collects is clean.
Finase now has time to attend school regularly, and it's paying off. She's now in grade 5 and she particularly enjoys English and math. Finase no longer has to dream about going to school alonside her friends. That dream has become a reality. Her sights are now set on going to university and becoming a teacher.
Irene: Walking for food
> Read Irene’s story
Like millions of women from poor communities around the world, Irene and her mother Nyengeterah are responsible for providing the water, food and firewood for the family. This is considered women’s work and it’s heavy work.
“I wake up and go to the field and then after coming from the field, I study. I am studying on my own at home, and then I go back to the fields. When it’s late, that’s when I come back [to the borehole] and after that, I help prepare the evening meal,” says Irene.
Nyengeterah is a widow and is raising her four children on her own after her husband died over ten years ago. She participates in a CARE program supporting subsistence farmers who are extremely vulnerable to climate change and unpredictable weather patterns. Combined with poor soil quality, a lack of fertilizer and unpredictable rainfall, hundreds of families like theirs are affected by poor crop yields and ultimately, a lack of food.
There’s hope that the study Irene is doing at home will help provide a way out of this crippling cycle of poverty. But for today, mother and daughter will continue their daily struggle for food and water.
Walk In Her Shoes to make it possible for CARE to continue providing support to people like Irene.