To mark International Women's Day 2021, non-governmental organisation Oxfam India will be organising a virtual walkathon, #WalkForHer. This will be a tribute to all women who not only have to fight gender inequality at every stage of their lives but also those who bore the worst brunt of lockdown in 2020 in terms of loss of jobs, facing domestic violence, and disrupted education.
This is the first edition of Oxfam India's 2021 Virtual Trailwalker Challenge. This edition will be held in 2 parts — first, between 25th February and 6th March and second, between 8th March and 17th March. The edition offers three challenges for the participants to choose from — they can complete either 100 km, 50 km or 25 km in 10 days.
For Oxfam India, a non-profit organisation working to support child education, empowering women and advocating against inequality, the Trailwalker Challenge will not only help with fund raising but also gets the conversation started on topics like these.
One of the people participating in the #WalkForHer walkathon is Bengaluru-based businessman Taher Merchant. In 2018, Taher became the first Indian man to finish the Everest Base Camp Ultra Marathon—a 60 km marathon— in over a decade. Last year, he joined Oxfam’s Virtual Trailwalker challenge to complete the 100 km challenge in just two days. He participated in solidarity with the migrant workers who faced immense hardships during the lockdown. He is ready to run again this year.
“I connect with this year’s cause as well and will do my bit to support it. I believe we are all equal and yes, gender inequality has been around for a long time in our society but it's time we ended it for good. Let's all #WalkForHer. This year, I will also try to cover the distance even faster than the last time,” said Taher.
Pankaj Maste from Mumbai who completed 100 kms in just one day in 2020 will also participate. About this year's challenge, he says,“Challenging myself is very important to me because I believe that only when you push yourself, do you realise your true potential. A fitness challenge is the best way to race against time and win. This year’s theme is also very important because we can all achieve the impossible with confidence, passion and hard work, regardless of our gender. Gender should not be a hindrance for anyone and that is why I will #WalkForHer to end gender inequality.”
Anupama Singha Roy from Bengaluru is equally excited about the challenge as well as the theme. “To put my mind and body through an endurance test and then bask in the feeling of accomplishment when the feat is successfully achieved, is incomparable! I truly believe in the saying, "Don’t limit your challenges,challenge your limits!” And it's a wonderful thought to encourage people to embrace gender equality. Let's not just limit it to a theme but make it our way of life from now on.”