Janine Annett is raising funds and awareness about child poverty, one step at a time.
The 15-year-old walked the length of Vancouver Island, from Port Hardy to Victoria, beginning on April 3. She ended her journey, known as A Walk for a Wish, in Victoria by walking from Mile Zero to the Legislature on Thursday, May 3.
Janine, who lives on Quadra Island, set out on her expedition with the goal to raise a penny for each of the one million steps she would take, equalling $10,000. All proceeds will go toward building a school in Barind Bhilo Ki, India through the organization Free the Children.
“I am really determined to get to my goal, which is one million steps towards (ending) child poverty,” Janine said in a telephone interview. “I really, really want to help kids living in poverty all around the world.”
Helping children in poverty, locally and globally, has always been something Janine wanted to do.
“I would come home (from school) and just ask my mom why kids weren’t as lucky as I am, why kids couldn’t afford (a) hot lunch,” she said.
Janine first felt like she had to do something during a trip to Uganda a few years ago. While she and her sister were sitting outside of a grocery store, they witnessed two young boys digging through a garbage can.
“My dad came out carrying two huge bags of groceries and a lot of it was stuff we didn’t really need,” she said. “(It) made me feel like I just had to do something, I couldn’t not do anything.”
After attending We Day, a movement inspiring youth to lead change, in Vancouver last fall, Janine was inspired to take action. The idea to walk the length of Vancouver Island came from listening to a speech about Terry Fox, she said.
Besides walking 20 to 25 kilometres each day, Janine also stopped at schools, giving presentations to students and encouraging them to help pledge to local charities.
“I’ve had lots of students coming up and talking to me about ideas that they’ve had, (and) just telling me how inspired they are to do something,” Janine said.
One in every 10 children in B.C. live in poverty, while globally, a child dies every three seconds because of living in poverty, Janine explained.
“I really hope that my movement has and will inspire others to take their first step to make a change, whether big or small, locally or globally.”
For more information or to donate, search for A Walk for a Wish on Facebook.