Bulletin Board: Women swim, blog, career change, walk for charity

Bulletin Board: Swim, blog, career change, walk

Indu Balachandran's kolhapuri chappals.
Swimming, shoe blogging, changing career for a year walking 10,000 steps a day for a week are just some of the things women are doing to promote social justice and understanding, and help the less fortunate break out of poverty....

"I was on the ferry with my family last week, when a grandfather who taking his grandkids into the city asked if I was visiting Australia to watch the cricket," writes Indu Balachandran. "Sigh. Twenty five years and still explaining that this is my home." Indu is one of many immigrant and refugee women joining other Aussies with stories to share at the In Her Shoes Facebook page created by the Australian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Alliance (AIRWA).

The campaign is designed to give women who have come to Australia to make a new life a voice and means to share their journeys, new and old, enabled by the universal metaphor of the shoe. Think of it as an online shoe swap. The In Her Shoes Campaign will launch officially on Friday 2 March in anticipation of International Women's Day on March 8, 2012. It is funded by the Australian Government department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Another campaign to get us thinking about our footwear and the journeys of other women, CARE Australia's 'Walk In Her Shoes Challenge' will take place from Monday 12 March to Sunday 18 March, 2012. CARE is encouraging those taking part to walk at least 10,000 steps a day for a week in honour of those women in Third World countries who have to walk far afield to find water, firewood and food. Knowing that women are often the first to go without when humanitarian crisis strikes, and that educating and supporting girls has community-wide benefits, the campaign focuses particularly on their welfare. Participants include Ellen Rose who is walking 20,000 steps a day after work. "I really believe in CARE’s work and the concept of helping women to help their communities (the girl effect)," she says. "Everyone should have the right to an education and if the money I raise can help just a little bit to make this happen then I’ll be happy."

Vodafone Australia is helping to bridge the skills gap for charities with its World of Difference initiative. Each year the company commits to supporting five Aussies to quit their day jobs and work for the charity of their dreams. They each receive a $60,000 full-time salary from Vodafone, as well as covering additional expenses to set up projects for their charity of choice and mentoring and support to help them achieve their goals. Last year's winners include Therese Howell from Limbs4Life, Australia's first amputee children and youth service and Lisa Clarke of the Touched by Olivia Foundation, part of the Sydney Children's Hospital that focuses on research and support for kids with vascular birthmarks. Entrants have until 4pm this Friday to apply. Best of luck!

After five months of getting up at 5.30am to train and pushing through self-doubt, which she's blogged about, World Vision national events manager Rose Levien will be swimming the Rottnest Channel for this Saturday. In order to raise funds for relief essentials that will be delivered to children and families around the world who are living on the extreme edge of poverty, she will don her swimming cap and costume, goggles, sunscreen and Vaseline and swim from Cottesloe Beach (Perth) to Rottnest Island. That's a distance of 19.7km across the Indian Ocean.

"I woke up a lot of mornings really grumpy, slamming my alarm clock and riding to the pool with a very grumpy face!" she says. "It felt impossible. Over the weeks, however, I saw improvement.  My pace picked up, my stamina grew and I even found myself leading the pack at swim squad." The race will take her about seven hours to swim. "I'm expecting there to be some big waves and strong chop.  It's going to be quite a day!" For those who would rather cheer her on than leap into the water, you can make a donation at Team World Vision. For every one dollar she raises, $10 worth of food aid will be delivered. Go, Rose!

Girl With a Satchel