Month: May 2016
All packed, prepared and ready to go for the big go at 9am at Headingley…. follow the run on twitter @juliafarman and @cwbAfrica and on facebook.
Thanks to everyone for their support and donations so far!
The fundraising aspect of the Roses Run, is to fund a Sports and Social Development Cricket Coach to work within the Maasai area of Kenya.
Following Cricket Without Boundaries’ (CWB) next trip out to Kenya on 18 June 2016, where we will be working with the Maasai Cricket Warriors, 28 Too Many and Cricket Kenya on our second FGM project, we are seeking to appoint a full time coach to work in the Maasai community. Their role will be to continue to deliver the FGM awareness messages and promote gender equality, through sport, across the wider Maasai community. The money raised from the Roses Run will go directly towards funding and supporting this coach.
To understand what the impact of having a local Sport and Social Development coach will do for the girls, their families, and the wider Maasai community the following excerpt is taken from the Cricket Without Boundaries’ FGM Blog post of last year: “One Brave Step” . It was first posted on 22 February 2015 to explain the positive impact of the Maasai Cricket Warriors and what the CWB Project did to support their work. The full post can be found at: CWB Blogs FGM Kenya 2015 One Brave Step
“We then made our way to meet Nancy, the reason this project began. Nancy is Daniel & Benjamen’s [Maasai Cricket Warriors] sister, and the first woman in their family to not undergo FGM.
The reason for this is that Daniel and Benjamen had learnt that FGM was wrong and harmful. They spoke up and informed their family of the truth. Thanks to the boys’ bravery in speaking out and standing up in courage to protect their sister, she did not face the barbaric procedure and is now enjoying gaining an education and thriving in school, and dreams of becoming a Doctor.
A year ago today on a CWB project in Kenya, Daniel spoke to Tracey & Gary [CWB’s then Kenya Country Lead Tracey Davies and HIV Lead Gary Shankland] about the need to win the fight against FGM and of the need in the community for CWB’s help to tackle this issue. We all could see that CWB could help and responded positively to Daniel’s invite to help the Maasai Cricket Warriors with eradicating FGM in Laikipia.
A year later, following a year of planning and joining up with 28 Too Many, we are here delivering the first ever CWB anti-FGM project. We thought this project was a pilot, but it has quickly become the pioneering launch of a very successful project that will surely continue to develop and reach many more people.
From one girl’s brave step to say no to FGM, thanks to the support of her brothers, by the end of today we will have coached and got 1750 people to sign up to be a part of a anti FGM message in Laikipia. The whole community has got behind the scheme, including the District Commissioner, Chief of the Maasai Elders, Chief of Police, the Local Health Centre, Community Health Workers, Midwives, Nurses, School Teachers, Young Leaders, Pastors, and many more..
If the power of one girl and her brothers can cause of all this…. If even just a sample of the 1750 reached this week stood up and spoke out against FGM, protected there sisters, or said no to their daughters having it done… Wow! What an impact! What a change! What an amazing testament to the power of one voice… One act of bravery!”
The breakdown of the route and meeting points are below. Timings are rough estimates.
Day 1 – Depart 9am
Headingley Carnegie Stadium – Birstall Shopping Centre (A62)
Birtstall – Mirfield, Leeds – (A62)
Mirfield – Manchester Road, East Huddersfield
Day 2 – Depart 8am
Manchester Road, East Huddersfield – Marsden Rail Station (Canal Route)
Marsden Rail Station – Diggle (A62)
Diggle – Roches Loch Inn, 387 Manchester Road (Canal Route)
Roches Lock Inn – Ashton Under Lyne (Canal Route)
Day 3 – Depart 10am
Ashton Under Lyne – Etihad City of Manchester Stadium (Canal Route)
Etihad City of Manchester Stadium – Central Manchester (Canal Route)
Central Manchester – Emirates Old Trafford
In the quest to find hills in South West London a trip to Lloyd Park, Croydon found some rare elevation last weekend. As I trotted two laps around the park on the hottest day of the year, it provided some much needed training for taking on the Pennines. On the final sharpest incline of the run, with the calve muscles dully aching and the sun glaring into my face, it seemed that the brow of the hill kept on getting further away each time I took a stride forward. I decided to let my thoughts wander me away from what was ahead…
One of the last occasions I was in Croydon was for an NHS FGM Conference, to raise awareness and understanding to lots of different public sector organisations that FGM was an issue that we needed to be aware of and respond to accordingly in this country. Upon entering the conference centre, with the usual circus of people networking over coffee and strategically finding seats next to their colleagues, one lady stood out from the rest. Amongst the black, grey and blue suited attendees, was a lady dressed in a fantastic bright yellow and green traditional African print dress. In an attempt to commend her for bringing some much needed brightness to the proceedings, the lights went down for the start of the conference before I had the chance.
For the next hour we were all informed of what FGM was; the different types, the health effects and appropriate safeguarding practices. It was a ‘chalk and talk’ understanding of the problem and the issues arising from FGM, and what different public sector bodies can do to support survivors and those at risk. Whilst it provided an education, the actual learning for the audience was what came next.
The lady I had spied in the African print dress walked serenely up to the lectern, introduced herself as Lucy, and explained her role in the charity organisation she founded to support young African origin people living in Croydon. She described the work she did with regards to FGM and supporting girls in the Croydon community. She then went on explain to all her story.
As a young girl growing up in Cameroon she and her twin sister were best friends. They had each other to play, learn and be with but most importantly rely upon… until the day that ‘it’ happened. For the next two minutes she detailed the pain both mentally and physically she felt a result of being a survivor FGM. She detailed what had happened the day of the cut and what happened afterwards. She also described the additional pain she felt, as a result of losing her twin sister to FGM.
As a proud Aunt of crazy but insanely awesome twin nieces I could appreciate and identify, having seen similar, with the stories Lucy relayed of her and her sister growing up together. She explained that although they were very distinct in their own personalities, they had a bond to each-other which she could not explain to others but they totally understood. What Lucy then eloquently described, the pain of suddenly not having your other half there, provided to us outsiders listening in a glimpse of what that twin-relationship is like and the effect on her of the loss at such a young age… I had been told that hearing from a survivor of FGM brings the horrific reality of FGM to life. It certainly does.
As I switched back into present that trudging up the never ending hill in-front of me, it didn’t seem so far. I knew it would end soon and it gave me that final bit of go to complete the training and remember the purpose of it of why I was doing it in the first place.
Lucy’s story is one of many reasons why we need to fight to end FGM. We can all do this, by raising awareness of its dangers to end the practice and supporting those who have survived, as a way of remembering those who have not.
Having struggled to run as a child, the sheer thought of moving at a relative zippy pace, would inevitably lead to a bright red face, gasps for breath and rummage around a pockets for an Inhaler before I had even properly set off.
In more recent years, seeing how running has helped two people very close to me get fitter, lose weight and act as mental health first aid, eighteen months ago with a desire to get a bit leaner (after a summer of consuming far too many cricket teas) I thought I would give it a go. With Inhaler in hand and an old pair of trainers donned, I decided to get involved with something called parkrun.
parkrun (deliberately spelt with a little p – an auto-correct nightmare) is a free timed 5k run every Saturday 9am which happen across the world. There’s probably one happening near you this Saturday, if you jump onto the parkrun website and wanted to be nosey. All you need is a team of willing volunteers to hold it, a free personalised barcode to record your times, and you are off. Having now participated (to date) in 59 parkruns in 52 different parks, it has been a pleasure to participate in runs with a cast of characters from top club runners, wheelchair users, marathon record holders, people half my age, people triple my age, dogs (on short-leads), babies (in buggies obviously), visually impaired runners and guides, a multitude of nationalities, walkers, Nordic walkers, trotters, amblers and coffee morning dawdlers. parkrun is a focal point for some communities to come together, and has brought the opportunity to safely exercise to some who would not necessarily have the ability or means to otherwise. It is more than just a run in the park. With all the recent entertainments which has led to parkrun to receive some media interest, lets hope that the positive testaments of parkrun, will build understanding for councils across the UK (not just the one in Stoke Gifford) of its benefits.
With the Roses Run seeing me complete twenty consecutive parkruns back to back, the trotting (my little pony run) I do every other day needs to be stepped up. Whilst I have built up my running over the past 18 months, 60 miles in two and half days is not impossible but will not a run in the park either. The terrain in South West London is a little less bumpy than that of the Roses Route across the Pennines. In an attempt to find just a minor hill, running routes have been devised in the Sunbury area which purposely involve running over loads of railway bridges, to get some elevation. Fitting in running around the demands of proper work, cricket work and other commitments, my trusty car has been having an extended break, as my other vehicle is my feet to cart me around. These feet are taking me through some very interesting and sometime quite picture-esq areas I wouldn’t have seen if I was in my car or taking public transport to places. Ok so it is taking longer for me to get to places, but the journey is usually far more pleasurable – there’s something twenty years ago I would not have said!