Walk For Women 2013

Lying in bed after a cough-filled night (not mine, but my little sister’s, who sleeps on the bunk below me), I marveled tiredly at the silence in the room. My sister had gone to visit her coughs upon my parents, who courageously took her in. Then, with a crash, I was out of bed, jumping down as if I just been electrocuted in my hurry to squint spectacle-lessly at my clock. “Damn!” I whispered. “Damn, damn, damn!” It was 10 past 9 in the morning, and I had been due at the base of Norman’s Hill Road at 9. Running around like a mad person, I quickly brushed my teeth, put some clothes on (later, I found that I’d put my pants on backwards) and yelled to my confused parents “I needed to be at the lagoon car park for my Walk For Women 10 minutes ago – I’m late!! Please can you give me a ride?” Luckily, dad understood my slightly crazed yells, shucking on some clothes and starting the car, and mum lent a hand as she packed me some lunch. A minute or so later, I was out the door, shoes on and cellphone in jacket, in all my unbrushed beauty.

Luckily, I made it on time.

The event I was very almost late to was my Human Rights group’s Walk For Women, a fundraiser for Partners Improving Markets, a UN programme that helps combat violence against women in the Pacific Islands.

Here are some statistics for you:

  • 70% of the world’s poor are women
  • Women earn less than 10% of the world’s wages – but women do more than 2/3 of the world’s work
  • 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of men in their lifetime. In the Pacific Islands, this can be as high as 2 in 3 women

As a group, we were focussing more on the market vendors of the Solomon Islands, 85% of whom are women. These women support their families and communities by selling fresh food at markets in towns, often staying overnight or longer before returning home again. They face unsafe working conditions, which often result in illness and harassment, aggressive tactics from market managers to obtain taxes and bullying and violence by middlemen who buy their produce at low prices for resale. The World Bank identified the Solomon Islands as the country with the worst levels of sexual violence towards women, and found that a lot of this takes place at market places. In response, UN Women formed Partners Improving Markets.

You can check out the youtube video below for some more insight and information:

So, to fundraise, we decided to organise a coast to coast walk from one end of Auckland to the other, pricing it at $10 and including a goodie bag (with chocolate) per person. This was estimated to take 4 hours, as we were walking quite slowly and going by the scenic route which involved two ‘hills’ – Mt Eden and One Tree Hill, and the Auckland Domain. Approximately 45 people turned up, quite a good turn-out, and some people who couldn’t make it donated as well, so we raised about $500 in all. (Yay for us!) Also, I had a lovely time, and the weather was great for once – it was bright and sunny the whole time!

Hopefully, more people will become involved with Partners Improving Markets, and fundraising to help reduce the causes of violence of women and empowering women vendors to demand change for the better.

If anybody wants to use this idea for their group or club, go for it! And if you have a brainwave on how to fundraise for a Human Rights cause, please feel free to share it – we always welcome new ideas.

Good luck fundraising,

Let’s call me Lily

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