What inspires a busy working mum from Sydney to walk 50km in the shoes of women and girls in developing countries to help fight poverty? Walk in Her Shoes participant Connie Mitsis says it’s all about teaching her two young daughters about the power of community and how good it feels to give back.
“I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and employee,” laughs Connie Mitsis, a mother of two and Westpac employee from Sydney, New South Wales. “Just like everyone else really!”
After hearing about Walk in Her Shoes on Westpac’s internal social networking site, Connie decided that this March, amongst her usual schedule of “juggling a thousand things between home, school, work and other commitments”, she would walk 50km to help women and girls around the world to step out of poverty.
“I’m not particularly sporty or adventurous,” admits Connie. “But I can walk and that is the simple beauty of the challenge. I will average around 12,000 steps a day, which will help me to reach my target.”
It feels good to give back
So why fundraise to help people she’ll never meet? “From a young age, my father instilled in me the importance of community and how good it feels to give something back – privilege is not a right, it’s an opportunity.”
Setting a good example for her two young daughters, Katerina, eight, and Lucia, five, was also a motivator. “My daughters definitely inspire me to do the challenge. I can’t imagine what it would be like to miss out on an education or even just simple play time because we have to walk to get water to survive … I want to teach my girls the power of community and how good it feels to give something back.”
Having supported friends and family undertaking their own fundraising challenges in the past, Connie felt this was the right opportunity to step up and make a difference for a cause she feels strongly about: “the protection and advancement of women and girls”.
A community effort
Connie says one of the best things about taking the challenge so far has been the overwhelmingly supportive response from friends, family, colleagues and Westpac. After contacting colleagues via email and friends and family via Facebook, she has already raised more than $1,000 of her $1,500 target.
Westpac, a corporate partner of CARE Australia and Walk in Her Shoes, will also be getting behind her by matching her charitable efforts dollar for dollar thanks to their Matching Gifts program.
“I’m proud to be part of an organisation that encourages its employees to do something for social good and supports so many worthwhile causes … it’s fantastic and really spurs me on to achieve my goal!”
It’s not too late to join
When asked what she would say to others thinking of taking up the Walk in Her Shoes challenge this year, Connie urged others to give it a go: “It’s the easiest challenge you can to do make a difference!”
“In our fast-paced and self-centred world the Walk in Her Shoes challenge is an amazing opportunity to stop, take stock and remember how lucky we are that our girls do not have to struggle to learn, eat and play.”
Feeling inspired? Join Connie and thousands of Australians walking this March to raise money and awareness for vital CARE projects around the world that help break the cycle of poverty. Find out more or sign up today.