Support Deruka Dekuek for walk of life

Deruka Dekuek is an ambassador for the Walk in Her Shoes campaign. Walk or run between 10km-150km from 10-23 October and raise money to help CARE Australia reduce the distance women and girls walk for water. Photo by Luke Hemer

At eight, Deruka Dekuek would walk 10 kilometres a day under a sweltering South Sudan sun to fetch buckets of clean water.

After leaving her family home at 5am, Ms Dekuek says she never knew if she would come back home alive.

“We had no choice,” she says. “I had to do those duties in order to survive. I did not have the luxury to say: ‘I’m not feeling well, I have to stay at home’.

The Melton South woman says she was forced to grow up and take on responsibilities at a very young age – and this has had a marked impact on the 32-year-old’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“Sometimes my feet would bleed because I was walking bare foot … and it’s more than 40 degrees in South Sudan all year round,” Ms Dekuek says.

Thanks to people around the world, Ms Dekuek was given sponsorship for an education, which she describes as her “strongest weapon”.

Without their support, she says, how would she have completed her studies?

“It pulled me out of those duties and has given me a peace of mind. Once we empower a child, it’s not only her life we’re improving – we’re empowering generations … and we’re pulling them out of a life of poverty.”

Ms Dekuek has been announced as an ambassador for humanitarian organisation CARE’s Walk in Her Shoes campaign.

Ms Dekuek is urging everyone to walk or run any time from October 10-23, or to donate to those who are participating.

“I’ve lead the same life as those people we’re trying to help; I walked in the same shoes.”