Some people contribute to the world through travel or volunteer work; some work from their homes, spreading awareness and advocating for people half a world away. Others prefer to write checks and still others…walk!

Women and children in developing countries walk an average of four miles per day to collect water, while the average weight a woman carries on her head is approximately 44 pounds. Additionally, the average African family uses five gallons of water per day while the average American family uses 300 gallons of water per day.

In commemoration of this, New York Pace students, faculty and staff carried buckets of water one mile across their Pleasantville campus on April 20, 2013. Funds went toward projects to supply clean water to communities like Isanjandugu in Tanzania.

In a dedicated attempt to spend a day in the childhood shoes of Ishmael Beah, students of the East Aurora High School arranged a 38-mile walk from the east side of Aurora to Soldier Field in Chicago on March 26, 2014. The 60-plus students had been taking a ‘Survivor Literature’ class in which they’d read Beah’s book, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.” The class’s excursion raised $7,500 which they spent on having the adult Beah come talk to them.

Those who are interested in walking for aid but do not want to organize a walk themselves are encouraged to join a pre-existing one:

Walk to Africa had its sixth annual eight-mile walk on May 17, 2013. The organization raises money to send doctors, volunteers, medicine as well as supplies for hospitals and schools to various countries in Africa.

A partnership between Sure Foundation Ministry and Walk for Water Africa arrange walks whose funds are used to provide rural African villages with clean water. Their group works directly with locals, teaching them how to repair and maintain their existing wells to provide the most water for the cheapest cost.

Funds from Canada-based Run to End Poverty go directly to Engineers Without Borders. Participants work in teams that spread awareness, gather funds and race in a relay.

Race to End World Hunger was first started in 1977 by a group of runners who decided they could use their love of fitness to benefit the larger world. World Runners’ purpose is “to advance life-long fitness of its members while making a difference in the world.” Money raised from events goes to sponsor the education of women and girls in Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as micro-finance in the developing world.

However you choose to contribute to the world, whether it is by spreading a message or finding a way to share the things you love, there is always a way to benefit the world at large.

– Lydia Caswell

Sources: Walk to Africa, Walk for Water Africa, R2EP, World Runners, Daily Herald, Pace, Walk in a Bucket
Photo: Lighthouse Medical Missions