IN MANY AREAS OF THE WORLD...
there are few opportunities to participate in sport or engage in many other aspects of public life, particularly for women and girls who are often restricted as a result of widespread discrimination and traditional cultural beliefs about female roles.
Women in Afghanistan face violence on a daily basis. In 2014, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission registered 2,026 cases of violence against women—a 15.8 percent increase from two years earlier. 162 women were beaten to death, with 92 of those incidents described as honor killings. [From Free to Run]
BUT THIS IS A LOVE STORY...
One of the very first By Way Of interviews was with competitive runner Annie K. I have had an almost life-long friendship with Annie, but that is not why I asked her to share her story - I asked because she has one of the biggest hearts I have ever known. She is true, humble, and authentic to the core. She is honest with herself and others, she gives all of herself to things she believes in, and she embodies passion.
I love Annie, and when she shared with me the story of working with Free to Run, I could feel her love for this cause. And it is no surprise. It combines her loves - running and empowerment.
On 20 March 2016, Annie and a joint team of young athletes from Afghanistan, the USA and beyond will compete in the NYC Half Marathon, honoring Free to Run's Afghan ambassadors and program participants who break barriers every day by defying danger and humiliation to pursue their passion and engage in sports and running. The FREE TO RUN A HALF Team Challenge is Free to Run’s first team fundraiser that takes place in the US at an event of this size. Team members will compete to raise a total of $20,000 to support Free to Run athletes in Afghanistan. [From Free to Run]
Please read Annie's story below and DONATE what you can so that everyone can be Free to Run!