Laura Kerr, of the Paisley RESULTS grassroots group, remembers her time at school and share her motivation for undertaking her own Footsteps for Futures challenge. 

How many times has someone said to you “put yourself in their shoes” in order to make you think about a situation differently?

g0jMPDtfWell that’s exactly what the team at RESULTS challenged me to do a few weeks ago, and that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing for five days next week when I take part in the Footsteps for Futures challenge.

So whose shoes am I putting myself in?

I’m putting myself in the shoes of millions of children around the world who have to struggle to get the education they deserve. There are many reasons children don’t receive an education or can’t make the most of the basic education they do receive but I’m just focusing on just one in my challenge; the difficulty in simply getting to and from school.

My school was just a 10 minute walk from my home. My friends, who stayed further away. would get a lift from their parents or get the bus or train to school. The furthest anyone I know came from was a 20 minute bus ride away. I was able to work hard at both primary and secondary school, go home and do my homework with the resources I needed, and I got the grades I needed to go on to university.

Looking back, all this seems normal. I now realise how privileged I was to stay so close to school, be able to concentrate throughout the day having not been allowed out the house without my breakfast, and be able to do my homework when I got home, however dark it was (and in Scotland it really could be dark just as you were getting home from school) because we had electricity.

Over one third of primary school aged children are not learning the very basics in school; whether this be by the fact they can’t get to school, or when they do get to school, they are tired, unable to concentrate, or are not able to access the resources they need to learn.

These children deserve an education because an education is one of the very best ways to ensure a child can look forward to a bright future; able to live an independent life and fulfil their potential.

So next week, I will be walking to and from work every day. That’s 7 miles each way, 14 miles a day and 70 miles in 5 days.

As I write this, I’m feeling quite apprehensive about it. I’ve got some important meetings in work next week which I need to concentrate on and will need to get up at 5:30am every morning; what if I fall asleep by lunchtime? How am I going to feel at 5pm when I’ll still be facing a walk home that will take over two and a half hours?

I may be apprehensive but I’m looking forward to the challenge and using it to help others understand the barriers to education that millions of children face. In keeping with the theme of the Commonwealth Games that are currently in Glasgow: bring it on!

Follow my journey @LauraMAKerr 

You can sponsor Laura on her 14 mile journey to and from Paisley to Glasgow every day here.