As a current VIDEA intern, I am very aware and grateful for being able to live one of my dreams and physically be present in Uganda. This privilege, combined with conversations I have had with friends and colleagues in Uganda, is informing my challenge for this year.
Much of the privilege that we experience stems from where we happen to have physically been born.The freedom and privilege of movement (to choose where you want to live, move within a country freely, pay for flights/trains/buses, access passports, purchase visas, and leave when and how you'd like), is something that I am especially grateful for, especially given current mass refugee and asylum seeker movements. Lack of movement and ability to leave unsafe areas is important for those facing gender-based violence, those dealing with the effects of climate change, and for those living in conflict zones. Not having the option to remove oneself or family from unsafe situations is a major impediment to realizing basic human rights.
On a more local level, I have observed that for those living under/at/near the international poverty line, accessing transportation is a dividing line for those with/without disposable income, and impacts people's ability to access better education, housing, health care, job opportunities, to visit relatives and friends, and general improve their quality of life. Life becomes more difficult when,out of necessity, you need to walk long distances to/from work, need to budget to visit your sick mother, or can't afford to go to a relatives funeral because you need to pay your child's school fees. My privilege means that I don't need to think about these things on a daily basis.
For this year's challenge, I am going to move only by foot. No cars, no vans, no bikes. Just me and my feet.
Check back in for updates on how I'm doing, and if you can, please consider donating to my amazing VIDEA family, who works so hard to partner with rights-based organizations across sub-Saharan African.