Why I’m giving a Hand Up
Yesterday I was on the first video call with The Hunger Project Australia (THP), and some of the ladies that will be joining me in Mexico.
It was the first time we’d met, and as part of the call we each had the chance to share our reasons WHY we had chosen to take part in this program. While we are from across different parts of Australia, run businesses that offer various products or services, and have different life experiences, there were some recurring reasons, or themes, that we all spoke of.
One of recurring reasons was why we had chosen this program with THP in particular. Most of us mentioned specifically aligning ourselves with THP due to how they go about helping those who need it.
Siobhan Doran, who recently travelled to Uganda with THP (and talks about her experience here), succinctly and eloquently talked about this:
They give ‘a hand up not a hand out’ by respectfully understanding that it is the people who are hungry that create their own solutions to end their hunger.
Those of us on the call yesterday agreed that this is the most powerful way to create lasting change, encourage leadership within these communities, and was what had drawn us to this particular program.
Hearing stories from previous trippers such as Siobhan create the strongest response in me. By hearing them, I’m not simply reading numbers, or generalisations on the changes that are happening – but they give me specific examples of the actual people whose lives are being changed. These stories are the ones stay with me long after I’ve read about them.
Stories such as Eveline’s, who Siobhan also talks about. Eveline is the mother of 2 boys whose husband left her, and would soon be taking her kids out of school as she could no longer afford to send them:
He took everything with him – everything being their only comfort: their mattress. Eveline wakes up at midnight to brew the beer she is allergic to – so much so that she is covered in a rash. She quietly brews this beer throughout the night so it is ready for the trucks that come at 6am, to collect it and sell it on. Then she’s at work in her neighbour’s fields by 7am and spends all day there. Her total income during the 24-hour period? Just over $1.
Or the story Siobhan tells of another mother, who has had to make a choice that someone like me can’t even comprehend:
…another single mother down the road – her children sit on palm leaves and play in the red dust. Their distended bellies round in stark contrast to their tiny arms. With dark circles beneath their eyes, their mother says that she chooses their education over feeding them. To choose education over food, how can we understand what drives that admirable but devastating choice?
So, for those who still aren’t sure why I’m asking for donations, why I’m running various fundraising events, and why I’m travelling to Mexico to be a part of this program, here it is. These stories are why. Some would call me a single mother, though it’s not a label I associate with. But I am the sole income earner in this household, and I do co-parent with my son’s dad. At times I feel weighed down by my financial struggle, the pressures I place on myself to ‘have and do it all‘, or feel hard done by that I can’t buy everything I want.
But you know what? I’ll never have to choose between feeding my son or sending him to school. And for that reason, I’m doing what I can to help. I’m giving a hand up to those who really need it…and will use it to flourish.
My heartfelt thanks goes to those who’ve already so generously donated. If you would like to contribute there are 3 ways: My fundraising page, coming along and grabbing a snag this Sunday, or by supporting our Walk to Make a Difference along the beautiful Surf Coast Walk on Sunday 13th September.
Siobhan Doran’s three part series of beautifully written articles can be read here.
All images are courtesy of The Hunger Project Australia.