What would your life look like if things started off differently for you? If you were born in a different country, to different parents, to different circumstance? What if Lady Chance wasn’t so kind and how you live today wasn’t so pretty?
I have had a lot of time during the last month walking the Camino to think about these things and I wanted to work out a way that I could give back.
The word privilege is thrown around a lot, but it is important to understand the power behind the word. Privilege can cover: race; sex; what family you were born in; what school you went to; voting rights; financial status; both mental and physical health etc.
Privilege can be a birth right, it can be earnt, and it can be taken away. It is possible to change our set of privileges for better or for worse, however we should not take those privileges we have for granted.
I am well aware of my privileges – being born in NZ, I have been able to benefit from a great education which has helped me get an amazing job. Being Kiwi has also granted me a passport that gives me easy access to most countries. I have been fortunate through these privileges to have to been able to save my extra earnings, which I have used to yolo around the world for the last three months and more. Even though I funded my trip through hard work and sacrifice – my leg up in the world to begin with has contributed more than I’ll ever know.
This leg up was highlighted during my first stop over in Manila where I met a 65 yr old taxi driver who had never had any extra money to take a holiday and wouldn’t have the proper paperwork to leave the country even if he wanted – being born in Manila where poverty is rife, education hard to attain and earning a living is difficult, does not allow this.
Another privilege I have is being bought up in a safe home. Aside from a few smacked bottoms (it was a different time!) and a bit of normal rumble tumble with my brother, I made it through my youth unharmed.
Not every child is as fortunate as me.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are in the world’s top 95-99% of privilege. What we have isn’t a given, but I believe children from all over the world should be able to live to the minimum standard – safe and unharmed like us.
Basically, we should want for them, what we want or have already, for us.
Children harmed by rape and violence are miles of steps behind us. What will it take for them to catch up to our starting line? I am lucky enough not to have experienced what they experience, but privileged enough to know they need our help.
YGAP’s #PolishedMan campaign aims to close that gap. It started when YGAP’s CEO, Elliot Costello, met a young girl named Thea during a project visit in Cambodia.
Despite their language barrier, Elliot and Thea connected over noughts and crosses. At the end of the night, Thea drew a love heart on Elliot’s palm, and coloured his nails bright blue.
The next day, Elliot learnt about Thea’s story.
Thea’s mother chose to send her to an orphanage in hope that Thea would be granted a safe refuge following her father’s death. She was given anything but; at just eight years old, Thea was raped on a daily basis for two years by the orphanage carer – the very man who was meant to protect her.
This terrible story started this amazing campaign. So when YGAP contacted me to contribute I knew that this was the cause that I would dedicate the last 150km of my walk from Santiago to Finisterra to – I’m sorry I don’t have the pretty official sign – I only have access to a pen, piece of begged paper and my iPhone to execute this campaign.
Don’t donate for me – I don’t need it.
Donate for the child you could have been if you weren’t so lucky.
Donate for the children you could have who deserve help if something unfortunate were to happen to them.
And of course donate for the children that already exist who don’t have the same luck as us…
Let our privilege, be their privilege.[line]