Now 2016 has closed its doors, I’m recapping the three month running challenge I did during the year. In the weeks after I returned back from my trip to India with World Vision in July, endurance runner Samantha Gash started an epic Run India journey across the country to raise awareness for educational projects in India. I thought it would be a fitting challenge for me as I continue to support World Vision’s work. I pushed out 170km in the 12 week period and I ran wherever I was: the city, the country, the waterfront, the mountains. Over the same time period, Samantha ran a whopping 3,211 kilometres across India. You can read about her inspirational journey here.
The total amount I raised for this project, thanks to donations and contributions from my blog income, was $2,175. It makes me happy knowing where the money is going having seen the benefits of World Vision’s work for myself.
The focus for the run challenge was to raise awareness of education projects in India. Education is absolutely key when it comes to change. I’ve seen it time and time again in my travels. One of the most moving days during my trip in India was hearing the stories from young people who are desperately striving against the odds to achieve higher education. I cried as I listened to story after story.
The gathering started with a mother bursting into deep sobs as she explained her gratefulness to World Vision for paying her son’s college fees. She earns very little as single mother working as a house maid; she couldn’t afford the fees to further educate her bright son, and now she’s just so very happy he is able to study. I wondered the last time I cried form gratefulness? Story after story, I could hear, and feel, the deep struggles of these young adults as they fight for higher education with buckets of determination. And it is a fight; these young people have so many odds stacked up against them.
The young women featured below is in her final year of her degree (which she is acing). She stands outside her home where she lives with her mother. There’s one small bed which they share, and two small rooms combined the would be smaller than my kitchen. Her father is absent so there’s very little income for living let alone higher education costs (which are very expensive where she lives in Chennai). World Vision are able to invest in this determined young women by paying for her education costs. Her desire for the future is to help others like her. She was utterly inspiring.
I think for these young people with bright minds and a strength about them, the pain of their struggles run very deep. It was almost like I could see the struggles tangibly like lines in the air. I felt their fight and it made me want to rally with them. Yes! Fight! Don’t give up! Ah, I loved the determination on their faces; I could see the hunger, despite the strings that seek to pull them back. Everyone deserve the opportunity of education, and the higher education program is just one of the projects World Vision invest in to ensure these opportunities. It’s why Samantha ran almost 4,000 kilometres across India and you can read more abut the World Vision educational projects she visited here. It’s why I joined in and ran at home in Australia. Education is key for long term change. These young people are vessels to achieve change, for themselves, for their families, for communities and for generations to come. What a worthwhile investment.
If you want a peek at behind the scenes from the 2016 blogging trip, here’s a snap shot I put together. Doing a trip like this is exhausting, exhilarating, encouraging, sobering, inspiring, life changing.