There is a wonderful song by the Depeche Mode with the title “Walking in My Shoes”. Even if they are not one of the groups that make me dance endlessly with their tunes, this song of theirs had a big impact upon me. The reason is because I love the idea of the title of their song: to try to “walk in someone else’s shoes” is what makes a human being pass from the stage of indifference to that of actual engagement. And starting to be engaged in something – anything - certainly requires seeing the world differently. It also takes the hard effort to “try walking in his or her shoes”, as a lesson of empathy and of gaining a deeper understanding concerning life and the experiences it has in store.
To walk in someone else's shoes (metaphorically speaking) has always been a personal project of mine, as an exercise of flexibility and as a duty in one's life. I hope that I have achieved it to some extent, at least. For sure, I won’t be the judge of it! It was for this reason that when I read the news that an NGO from Australia actually turned this slogan into the motto of its campaign against poverty, what I felt was a genuine feeling of relief and satisfaction. Yes! The world can only become better if all of us try to not only witness, but also to experience or gain more engagement in life's both shades and shadows, even for a moment, by trying to see things through the eyes of someone that doesn’t look like us, doesn’t think like us and finally doesn’t act like us.
CARE Australia, an international humanitarian aid organization, has recently launched an international campaign against poverty. To be more precise, it focuses on assisting women and girls from developing countries to escape extreme poverty. Only last year it managed to help around 122 million individuals in 82 countries.
The campaign launched by CARE is named “Walk In Her Shoes” and invites Australian citizens to take 10.000 steps a day for one week and consequently raise funds for a noble cause. These 10.000 steps a day do not come out of nothing, leading nowhere and they are definitely not meaningless. The 10.000 steps actually aim to be a symbol for the cruel reality of so many people living in developing countries, having to surpass many difficulties and being by default condemned to face a harsh reality, a longer than long road in their lives, a path sprinkled with hardship only, that could at least be sweetened by solidarity only.
Practically speaking, four million African women are forced to walk daily 6-8 km (this equals 10.000 steps) in order to collect essentials for their lives such as water and food. Poverty in Africa reflects such harsh realities that poverty statistics could not really picture through the figures they show; statistics could only measure the extent to which an evil has reached, but only us – humans, persons, people – can change that harshness for solidarity, attempting to make a difference.
The Body Shop is an official partner of the 'Walk In Her Shoes" Campaign
The Body Shop is a partner of the CARE Australia in this noble effort. As a matter of fact, The Body Shop, one of the most prestigious brand names in body care and cosmetics industry, has joined a number of international campaigns for a good cause throughout the years. It joined the campaign against animal testing, the campaign ‘Stop Sex Trafficking” that was meant to bring awareness on the issue of violence against women, apart from the company’s successful involvement into fair trade practices and policies.
Walk In Her Shoes 2013
The “Walk In Her Shoes” campaign took place last month. Up to 4,574 Australian citizens took the “challenge” and decided to walk these 10.000 steps for this noble cause. Together, they manage to raise almost $1 million.
Sometimes, “walking in somebody else’s shoes” is not as easy as it might sound. I understand that we, the people, are creatures of habit; it is so difficult to change one’s views and ideas. However, to me at least, this idea of at least trying to see the world through the eyes of the ones that stand so far away from us and our lives seems to be the noblest and the most challenging of things I can personally imagine… And if the question is if it’s worth it to take these 10.000 steps my answer would have been yes! As I think that it would be worth to take even a million of them, if this is what it takes to turn around realities – even to a small extent!