IMAGINE spending a day in another person’s shoes. And what if they could spend a day in yours? How would it feel?
That’s what was running through Anastasia Kaldi’s mind when she came up with “In Her Shoes”– a social media campaign, started in Canberra, that aims to create positive media to transform the ways immigrant women are viewed in society.
Women and men are invited to jump on the “In Her Shoes” Facebook page, post a photo of their favourite or most meaningful shoes and tell the story behind them.
Anastasia says each photo of shoes is a metaphor for its owner’s story.
“It steps past the skin colour and the vision,” she said.
“It’s about taking off your own shoes and stepping into someone else’s for one day.”
Anastasia is the program manager for the peak advocacy body, Australian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance.
As part of a submission to the Federal Government’s new Multicultural Policy, AIRWA made a recommendation that the government do more positive media for immigrant women.
“We told the Government that we weren’t going to wait on the policy, we were going to move on it under our brief,” Anastasia said.
“For me it is really important. I think that there is a double discrimination about immigrant and refugee women.
“There’s an intersecting discrimination there that makes it doubly hard for them to participate equally in society.
“The media is not helping in any way, shape or form. The negative media stereotypes out there for refugees, and boat people in particular, has sent racism back and discrimination.
“It’s very hard.”
Although officially launched last week, the campaign had a soft launch last month and has already gained about 250 “likes” on Facebook and attracted stories from people from all over the world.
“You can’t force people to overcome their ideas but perhaps you can bring them to a level where they can at least open their eyes a little bit more,” she said.
“I know that people have set ways and set ideas, may be I’m wrong, maybe it will change nothing, but I believe in the power of one.”
Anastasia has her own story of how she got to where she is today; her Hungarian grandfather survived the Holocaust thanks to a selfless act from another man.
“He was in a concentration camp and was shot in the leg by a Nazi guard for target practice and was dying; basically he had the fever and couldn’t work anymore,” she said.
She says because of his injury he was selected to be taken to the gas chambers.
“Our last name was Klein back then, and when they called Klein, a guy called Kaldi, my last name, stood up before my grandfather could and said ‘I’m Klein’ and he went and died for him,” she said.
“My grandfather adopted his name and made it out of the war…
“I always tell the story of my last name; I say if you change one life, you can change forever.”
“In Her Shoes” campaign coincides with International Women’s Day. To tell your story, or read someone else’s, visit facebook.com/InHerShoesAIRWA