30 August 2022

Step up for the Karinya House Mercy Walk in September and help women in need

| Katrina Condie
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Walkers among canola fields

People from all walks of life are encouraged to participate in the fundraising Mercy Walk for Women in September. Photo: Karinya House.

It’s time to start limbering up for the 10th annual Karinya House Mercy Walk for Women, raising funds and support for vulnerable women who are pregnant or parenting babies.

The number of women seeking support from Karinya House in the Canberra region has sky-rocketed this year, primarily due to a shortage of rental accommodation and rising living costs.

Karinya House interim CEO Belinda Munn says the past six months have seen a dramatic increase in calls for assistance on top of the already high demand during the COVID crisis.

“With the ongoing housing crisis, we’re seeing a lot more women who are either pregnant or with babies, living in unsafe situations, and often experiencing domestic violence who need the support of Karinya House,” Belinda said.

“By taking part in the Mercy Walk for Women during September, members of our community can take steps to help the growing number of women in need.”

READ ALSO Maternity service organisations team up to empower disabled and disadvantaged mums

Mothers’ groups, community and sporting organisations, neighbours, friends and Canberra businesses are encouraged to get together and sign up online for the fundraising walk.

Individuals or groups can walk anytime throughout September, with the option to set a target of 23, 46 or 66 kilometres to be completed in one go or throughout the month.

“Karinya aims to gather 200 walkers who can raise at least $200 each – that’s $40,000,” Belinda said.

“The Karinya staff will be taking time out of their day a couple of times a week during September to walk around Canberra. As well as raising funds, we’ll be taking time to look after our own well-being.”

Belinda Munn

Karinya House interim CEO Belinda Munn says more women than ever are finding themselves homeless or vulnerable due to domestic violence or trauma. Photo: Timur Ahmet.

Karinya House was established 25 years ago by the community, and while the organisation attracts government funding to employ staff and run programs, it relies on ongoing community support to provide direct assistance for women doing it tough.

“Every dollar raised will directly help women who are pregnant or parenting babies that have been impacted by the inequity that exists in our society,” Belinda said.

“While we appreciate the government funding, support from the community can be flexible and help pay for things like urgent car maintenance and registration, or support women or their children access dental care and speech therapy more quickly.

“Community donations can help Karinya provide women with food vouchers or whatever immediate support they need to get back on their feet. Just this week, we paid a significant amount for a young woman with two small children to have critical safety repairs to her car so she can get her children to daycare and medical appointments while accessing education and support programs for herself.”

Karinya’s generous corporate sponsors will match every donation to the Mercy Walk for Women as part of the Double Your Impact Appeal.

The walk was first held 10 years ago when a group of women walked 23 km through the golden canola fields from Boorowa to Galong. Members of the original group will again hit the road on 25 September.

READ ALSO Charity begins at home in Boorowa – but doesn’t stop there

Each year Karinya House assists around 200 women from Canberra and the surrounding region.

Belinda says the accommodation at Karinya House is currently at capacity, but the charity does all it can to help women who may be homeless or doing it tough.

“Every single room is full, but we are providing practical assistance and emotional support for women, including food parcels, helping them get to medical appointments, advocating for them – or being a listening ear.”

Karinya House is focussed on developing a sense of hope and belonging to effect lasting positive change for women in Canberra, as well as the surrounding regions of Goulburn, Yass and Queanbeyan.

“Adversity doesn’t stop at the border,” Belinda said.

“Wherever you live or work, we invite you to walk alongside us this September. Every step you take is about respect and recognition of the women who inspire you and the women who inspire us.”

Established in 1997, Karinya House provides pregnant or parenting women with practical support and opportunities to develop confidence, a positive sense of self and personal skills. Take the first step towards helping women in need by signing up for the 10th annual Mercy for Women Walk.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.

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