The former Corner Brook resident, who now lives in Ottawa, started the campaign on Friday, which was also International Women’s Day. It was a fitting day, she said, as the money raised through the campaign will go to support and provide basic services for women and girls in developing countries.
“They’ve found, over the years that they’ve been operating, that by investing in women and girls, women will tend to save, women will tend to really give back to their families and in doing so, their communities will prosper,” said Mintz. “If you can elevate the situation of women, it elevates the whole community.”
That’s something Mintz, 30, has witnessed for herself.
Mintz works with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and for two years, from 2009 to 2011, was stationed in Ethiopia.
Even though public transit existed in the cities, she said women often could not afford to use it.
“People would walk kilometres and kilometres just to earn very little money to support their families.”
She said they would invest the money they earned into buying property for their families or use it to send their daughters to school.
Those living in the countryside often had no other option but to walk to go to school, to go to get water or to go to give birth.
“Women are walking very long distances,” said Mintz. “It’s a very big country and services are very spread out.”
It was in Ethiopia that she learned a lot about what non-governmental organizations like CARE, with whom she worked regularly, were doing in the field.
When she returned to Canada, Walk In Her Shoes was in its second year and Mintz decided to get involved.
“The cause really resonated with me because I had seen it and knew the challenges women faced there. I thought it was a good way to continue that engagement (with CARE) to fundraise for them,” she said. “I like it because it’s both a fundraiser for the organization, but also it’s a way to get awareness because people are doing the walk and experiencing what it’s like to be a girl or a woman in the developing world who has to walk several kilometres every day. And I really did witness that in Ethiopia.”
Fundraising for women’s charities and causes is something Mintz has done for years, and something that’s always been encouraged by her parents, Eric and Diane Mintz, who still live in Corner Brook.
Through the campaign, Mintz hopes to cover 8,000 steps — roughly six kilometres — per day, for each of the eight days.
Mintz walks to work every day, but said hitting the 8,000 steps will be a bit of a challenge.
“I will need to go beyond my regular walking.”
She said she’ll make a conscious effort to do things like take the stairs at work and will be doing more walking and jogging.
“I also plan to map out a route that gives me quite a few kilometres, so that I can make sure that I cover that distance every day,” she said. “It’s also very interesting to see how far you walk in a day, because sometimes we don’t know how far we walk.”
Last year Mintz raised $300 for the campaign, and this year set a goal of $500. On Thursday she had more than doubled that.
She raises money by reaching out to family, friends and colleagues, often using social media to contact people.
She’s been holding an anti-Valentine’s Day party for a number of years in support of women’s issues, in conjunction with V-Day. Money is raised through ticket sales and games.
“It’s fun to host a party where people are also giving back, but in a fun way.”