A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hi friends!

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I am taking the first step exactly as I am typing out this post.

Or rather I had already taken the first step some months ago, but there's still a long road ahead. OK, I'll stop being all mysterious and tell you what I'm talking about.

I've loved competitions ever since I was a kid. I still do, but this time it's a bit different. Competing against yourself has turned out to be more interesting than competing against other people. For instance, yesterday in the gym I did a thing I couldn't do some days before. That's me winning the version of me from before. When applying for a certain traineeship, I know I need to make an outstanding application - because the last one was unsuccessful. So I need to compete with the Me who made the last application, and I need to be better than her. Me. This is confusing, but you get the drift.

Some months ago I applied for a program in the US I fell in love with. The program is called Merit360, and it's organized by World Merit from the UK. In a nutshell, they will gather 360 young people from all over the world with a single goal - to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. If you don't know about SDG's, you can find out more here. The 17 SDG's are what the UN has devoted to tackle by the end of 2030. To get the idea, the Goals are such as end of poverty, clean water and sanitation for everyone, education for everyone... really, things we in the West take for granted, but often forget that they are considered luxury in parts of the world. And of course, it's so self-explanatory why they shouldn't be.

The one I am most passionate about, though, is Gender Equality, because I see it and experience it. This DOES NOT mean I am lessening the other 16 goals, or that I don't understand how important they are. I think we need to speak about it and educate people - where girls don't get education, or the right to vote, just as much as where they do, but feel less of themselves because they're female. I've had conversations where a girl would say we have reached gender equality because a woman can ride a tram, but on the other hand think it is normal that a girl shouldn't walk alone in a dark alley because, well, a man can attack her.

Gender inequality takes different forms, but as long as it does, it's like saying half the world's population is not as worthy as the other half. And honestly, dear reader, it's really getting on my nerves. (I tried really hard not to swear here.) People at World Merit have recognized my passion and determination and admitted me to the program!

The program will take place in the US in late August, and honestly, if I'm granted the US visa (the matter that I should take care of in the next few days), I cannot wait to join all the other changemakers and really DO something about the cause I believe in and learn from those who have been working towards the same goal for a much longer time! 

...and that's where the 1,000 steps get into the picture. The program is not free: I need to pay £750 for the participation, in addition to the visa costs and airplane ticket. Actually, the £750 is just a fraction of the price, as the rest (£5,250!) has been covered by the sponsors, but still, it's a large sum! I've set up my fundraising page - for the first time ever. You can find it here. How does this align with the story about competing? Well, I obviously have a new goal in saving this year. Some of you might know about the money saving journey I'd been on last year, and that's why I'm competing with myself again: I want to save more. But no matter how I do, I'm afraid I cannot collect the whole sum. 

If you believe in the same causes I do, if you believe we can reach gender equality and other SDG's as well, please consider donating. 

If you cannot donate, please do share my fundraising page. Maybe someone who can will see it and help me on my way to the States - and a better world for us all.

Thank you, thank you, and have I said "thank you"?? :) 


Fundraising page: click HERE 

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