Recently, I gave a 5 minute talk, a call-to-action about the World Partnership Walk in McGill University to some 50 students and several other adults. When I was writing down what I was going to say, my heart started beating fast.
It was because for the first time that I’ve told a story, It meant something to me. It was about empowerment. It was about hope, and about confidence in the future. It was about the generosity and leadership.
For the first time, I realized that I could speak about the positive side of international development and refrain from using words like “poverty” and emotional blackmailing. Because, truly, in the 25 years (going on 26) that the World Partnership Walk has been around, Canadians have shown nothing but proactive, meritocratic involvement in the issue.
So, this is what I spoke to. Canadian values, and the results. I went straight to the specific examples, down to the names and the work that was done. The story I told was of Kokilaben from a village in Gujarat, and how Canadians had empowered them to ask questions about their future and make choices about what was important to them. I saw many smiling faces, and many nods.
While I wish I had water before stepping up, I didn’t get a chance. I’m never one to be frightened by large audiences and I remember being on stage since I was at least 4 years old. That’s a long way back, and quite a good memory to have.
But, for the first time in years I was nervous, because I was going to make myself vulnerable to my audience about how I felt. My passion about the walk. In hindsight, it served as a wonderful reminder about Kokilaben’s story.
The challenge was then to talk enough to make a personal connection, but not too much to make it a sap story. The time limit was 4 minutes. I wanted to get across key messages of the Walk that my audience could relate to, doing it in a setting that did not allow for interaction. Yet again, a reminder that those less fortunate don’t always have a voice.
I ended the speech by telling my audience why I walk. They were the reason why I walk.
After you have reviewed the World Partnership Walk website, please sponsor me. 100% of your donations go to the development work. Not a cent goes to admin costs.
Bridges That Unite is coming to Montreal this 7th March. Please come to see where your funds are going. This is an immersive, interactive, and inspiring exhibition. See where your donations are going. For more information, please look at the official Bridges That Unite website.