Link’s Donor Development Manager, Caroline McKay, is taking on a unique challenge that will push her body to the limit, just in time for Christmas!
The 95 mile West Highland Way Race is usually run in midsummer. It’s a race Caroline has run twice in varying conditions. Always a little intrigued about what it would be like to run the trail - which travels from Milngavie just outside Glasgow up to Fort William - in midwinter, this year she’s going to give it a go to try and raise some Christmas cash for Link's work in Africa.
This is a significant challenge, only 6 men have ever completed this run in the darkness and icy-cold temperatures of winter. Caroline is attempting to become the first woman ever to complete this run, and is looking to do it in less than 24 hours.
Caroline is doing this for a very important cause. 30 million children across Africa don't go to school, and those in school often don't complete it, for reasons including domestic work pressures and early marriage to tiny family income. Reading skills could help millions more escape from poverty, with children whose mothers can read being 50% more likely to live past age 5, yet schools are severely under-resourced, with huge class sizes and undertrained teachers.
It's far worse in rural areas, and for girls, boy’s education is thought to be more important. Girls don't have enough support to stay in school, or even sanitary protection so they can reach school. Many also face unsafe journeys fraught with sexual harassment to reach secondary school, as there are so few in rural areas.
Caroline was lucky enough to visit schools in impoverished rural areas of Ethiopia recently, and saw the impact of Link Community Development's work first hand. Link are a small, grassroots charity working in the heart of communities in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda to help sustainably solve these critical educational challenges, using their experience of improving over 3,000 schools since the 90's. Link involve communities in the long-term improvement of their local school, with a focus on better support for girls, and helping authorities improve teaching quality and performance measurement on a low cost and community-led basis - a truly sustainable approach that has been shown to work. Link's latest project in Ethiopia was reviewed as far exceeding all targets set for improving girls' literacy, numeracy, attendance and confidence, and is top rated from 37 DFID-funded projects.
How can you help?
Caroline would be so grateful if you could sponsor her to give this a go for Link. Your donation will be directed straight through Virgin Money Giving to Link, with no commission taken. Virgin Money Giving is also a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid for charities when each donor is eligible.
Thank you. We'll be sure to keep you updated with gory details of Caroline’s run in the next few weeks!