On March 20th, I will be running my second half marathon on behalf of Free to Run.
Free to Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females in conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination.
There is an overwhelming need to develop and support opportunities for women and girls to become involved in sport and physical education – especially in areas affected by violence in conflict, when these types of activities are often overlooked or under-appreciated. Free to Run was created directly in response to this need. While there are a number of organizations that provide sports activities for kids in various developed and developing countries, there are no organizations that focus specifically on women and girls in high-security and high-stress environments. We aim to assist those whom others are not able to reach and go to areas where others might not. We know that the nature of this type of work is difficult, but we do not think it is impossible and we are committed to making a difference.
There are tangible benefits from our programs. On an individual level, sport and physical activity can help to develop emotional and physical well-being and personal power. However, on a community, regional or national level, sports programs can be used as a tool to promote gender equity, enhance children’s and women’s rights, and address harmful discriminatory practices. Our aim is to use sport as a platform to provide important life skills education to girls and women, including health and reproductive education, leadership training, and literacy education. By providing women and girls with an opportunity to get engaged in sport, physical fitness and outdoor adventure, we give them a chance to convene around a common interest, build their social networks, and develop their independence and participate in activities outside of the home.
I've made it my goal to raise $1,500 to contribute to the overall team goal of $20,000. Any donation will be greatly appreciated (and it's tax deductible!).