Close to $150,000 raised. More than 100km walked. Commitment and goodwill of 17 intrepid Canadian trekkers, immeasurable.
Trekkers, traveled to Tanzania from Alberta, Ontario, California and Switzerland, to mark Crossroads 60th Anniversary raising money and awareness for Crossroads International’s work to advance women’s rights and reduce poverty. First off, trekkers met our partner KWIECO in Moshi. They visited the first-of-its-kind women’s shelter in the region, a safe space for women and children fleeing domestic violence. and saw the vegetable farm and fish pound that is generating income to support the shelter and its residents.
Next, they met volunteers at KWIECO’s paralegal center to learn more about their Access to Justice Program. The volunteers work with local and traditional leaders and the police’s gender desk to counsel the local communities on children and women’s rights issues.
Their time with KWIECO ended up with a visit of the Empowerment Clubs where girls and boys learn about their rights and their potential.
“I’ve had the chance to hear a lot about the work done by partners — often from partners themselves when they’ve visited Canada. But I know from my Crossroads sojourn in Zimbabwe in 1991 that there’s no substitute for an in-person experience,” commented Meredith Low, Crossroader and Crossroads longtime supporter from Toronto.
For our youngest trekker, 17-year-old Robbie Kemp-Welch, “It was great to see the real-life implementation of what we were here for.”
The 100km trek across the beautiful Tanzanian savanna took them through different Maasai villages where they met the local people and saw their beautiful handcraft work. Throughout the trek they had the opportunity to see incredible Tanzanian wildlife and landscape, with the culmination on last day as they basked in the breathtaking Great Rift Valley and walked around the Sunken Crater.
A memorable experience for all, but for a few Crossroaders, this trip was even more emotional as it was the first time they were back in Africa since their mandates.
“Celebrating Crossroads’ work, raising funds and preparing for this walk in the Kilimanjaro region is almost a revival of my initial Crossroader experience in 1991. A walk down memory lane perhaps, but more importantly a solidarity walk today for young girls and women around the world who may suffer in silence or are not given the opportunity to develop their full potential because of circumstances. I’m grateful for this opportunity in taking part again in creating “one world where poverty is eliminated, equality prevails and the rights of women and girls are fulfilled, ” said Michelle Joanisse, Crossroader in Senegal in 1991.
Close to $150,000 was raised thanks to the generosity of their friends, families and networks and also through different initiatives like the art auction featuring local artists hosted in Toronto by Corrine Sandler in support of Charity Challenge participants Libby Wildman and her son Robbie’s fundraising.
Crossroads International would like to thank our Charity Challenge trekkers for their fundraising effort, and their engagement and support in advancing women’s and girls’ rights.