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The All We Can staff team are also All We Can supporters – many find ways in their spare time to raise funds for the work All We Can does around the world. On Sunday, two members of All We Can staff joined other supporters running the British 10K in London. In today’s blog Katie Kurilecz, All We Can’s Direct Marketing and Supporter Care Manager, explains why she decided to run for All We Can dressed as a sunflower.
These last couple of weeks, as the temperature has continued to push close to 30 degrees in the South-East, and rain has become something I vaguely remember from days gone by, I have done all I can to keep the plants in my garden alive. Every day I’ve watered my plants, lugging countless watering cans through the house from the back garden to my hydrangeas in the front. With my indoor plants, I obsess about how much light they get – too much or too little and they will wither.
I love my plants. It took years of saving up for my husband and me to buy our house and have a garden of our own. This spring we were so full of hope and excitement as we walked around the garden centre picking out those first plants and making plans for the fruit and vegetables we would grow. Throughout spring, we battled weeds, slugs and snails to protect our tender shoots; spurred on with visions of eating fresh tomatoes in a garden full of colour.
Sadly, despite our best efforts, the garden is brown; the only plants to survive are weeds. There will be no home grown vegetables and no beautiful green lawn for us this summer.
All this effort got me thinking of the families we are supporting in Malawi. As I carried water through my house, broke up eggshells to ward off slugs and spent another weekend weeding, I reflected on the stories I have read from Malawi. I thought of Shanu and Muona as they struggle to grow their crops to feed their family. I imagined how they must feel to work so hard to till their fields, sow seeds, and pull out weeds in an effort to grow food for their children Sam, Mercy and baby Merina, but for it all to be in vain. For them, the survival of their crops is about more than a hobby. It’s about having enough food to eat. My plants may die, but I still have a fridge full of leafy green salad. So I asked myself, am I doing all I can to help?
So this past weekend, I ran in the British 10k, in 30 degree heat, dressed as a sunflower. I wanted to raise money to help families like Shanu’s. Through my fundraising, I hoped to inspire others to do all they can and to raise enough money to sponsor a solar panel for a community in Malawi.
A solar panel might seem an odd choice when the problem is too much sun and not enough rain. But, the solar panel will harness the power of the sun, generating electricity to power an irrigation system pumping up water from deep underground, so families like Shanu’s always have water for their precious crops.
As I ran on Sunday, I constantly thought about how much water I needed to drink, making sure I didn’t become dehydrated. It brought home to me just how vital water is, because when you are thirsty and you don’t have water that’s when you notice it.
Sunday also showed me the immense power there is when we all come together to support others. There were 12,000 runners on the day, but over double that were cheering on the runners. When you’re exhausted and dehydrated, wondering how you’ll put the next foot in front of the other, you realise the power in receiving support from others. It was thanks to the countless people cheering ‘come on sunflower’ and ‘yes you can, All We Can’ that I got over the finish line.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported and sponsored me on Sunday! Together we are doing all we can to support families like Shanu’s.
Find out more about Sam and Shanu’s story and what inspired me to run here.
Laura works for All We Can as the Communications Manager. She is also an internationally acclaimed photographer with a passion for women's rights. She is studying MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies in her spare time and lives with her husband Stephen in Essex.