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Solidarity with Refugees: The two Billion Kilometers to Security

SEATTLE, Washington — In 2018, UNHCR introduced the two Billion Kilometers to Security Marketing campaign (often known as the 1 Billion Miles to Security Marketing campaign) to assist generate solidarity with refugees. The marketing campaign asks folks to trace the distances they run, stroll or bike and enter them on the marketing campaign’s web site, stepwithrefugees.org. The objective of this marketing campaign is to focus on the nice distances refugees journey to get to security and the way troublesome such journeys could be.

Primarily based on UNHCR calculations, refugees collectively journey roughly two billion kilometers every year as a way to attain security. Nevertheless, the burden of touring impacts sure refugee populations extra considerably than others. For instance, in 2016, Rohingya refugees in Myanmar collectively traveled an estimated 80 kilometers, Syrian refugees traveled greater than 240 kilometers and South Sudanese refugees traveled greater than 640 kilometers.

Tales from Refugees

On the marketing campaign’s web site, UNHCR supplies the tales of three completely different refugee ladies and their journeys to security, together with the variety of miles that every lady had traversed.

  • In seven days, Opani traveled from South Sudan to Uganda, a distance of 60 miles (96 kilometers), together with her younger daughter, Brenda. They fled on foot, escaping violence, and have been compelled to sleep outdoors, which left them weak to assault. Consuming nothing however wild berries, Opani and her daughter walked for days earlier than reaching the UNHCR registration heart on the Uganda border.
  • In 10 days, Alin trekked 64 miles (102 kilometers) from Myanmar to Bangladesh. After her village was attacked in the course of the night time, Alin fled together with her household, leaving all of their possessions behind. The journey was troublesome, consisting primarily of waterlogged fields, and at instances they needed to wade by way of rivers with their kids and aged family members. Alin’s household relied fully on meals folks have been prepared to provide them alongside the best way, and a few days they went hungry earlier than lastly making it to Bangladesh. 
  • Zeenab traveled 95 miles (153 kilometers) in solely 4 days from Syria to Jordan. Zeenab’s dwelling was destroyed, prompting her and her household to flee. Zeenab recalled, “There have been air strikes and lifeless our bodies throughout us… I didn’t need my children to finish up like that.” The winter climate made their journey troublesome, and so they hadn’t been in a position to deliver any blankets with them for the chilly nights. Zeenab’s husband needed to carry the kids many of the means, however after 4 days of laborious journey, they reached Jordan and have been moved to a camp on the northern border.
  • Producing Solidarity

    These tales exemplify the hardships that refugees face, notably when touring with members of the family. The distances they journey are unimaginable to most, and emphasizing this reality might help encourage folks to exhibit solidarity with refugees.

    Members within the 2 Billion Kilometers to Security Marketing campaign come from 27 international locations throughout Africa, Asia, North and Central America, Europe and the Center East and embody people dedicated to the trigger, resembling superstar supporters and UNHCR personnel. Distances traveled are logged both on the marketing campaign web site or by way of a health app, and all individuals’ totals are added along with the objective of reaching 2 billion kilometers collectively by the tip of 2019. As of March 17, 2019, 659,789 miles had been added to the marketing campaign.

    Along with exhibiting help, individuals can request sponsorship from family and friends members to assist elevate funds for UNHCR. Campaigns could be created for teams as properly, together with operating communities and sports activities golf equipment. The objective is to boost greater than $15 million by the tip of the marketing campaign for the help of refugees.

    Testimonials from Individuals Making a Distinction

    To emphasise the significance of solidarity with refugees, UNHCR Deputy Excessive Commissioner Kelly T. Clements acknowledged, “Day by day, we’re impressed by the acts of kindness from people who find themselves doing their best to enhance life for refugees. This marketing campaign will encourage folks to help refugees by way of one thing they’re already doing — strolling, biking, operating.”

    Different UNHCR officers have come ahead with their reasoning for going down within the marketing campaign, together with actor and just lately appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Ben Stiller. He acknowledged that refugees “are operating for his or her lives, for a secure roof over their heads and a spot the place they don’t should reside in worry. This is the reason I’m stepping with refugees and participating within the 2 Billion Kilometers to Security marketing campaign.”

    Tim Gaynor, the UNHCR internet editor, has additionally shared his story for why he’s taking part within the marketing campaign and exhibiting solidarity with refugees by mountaineering the Camino de Santiago in France together with his spouse. He acknowledged, “After 10-20 miles, our toes ached and our legs burned.” This,” he stated, “made us respect that we had clear water to drink, meals to eat and, after all, a secure, dry place to sleep each night time.” That is, sadly, not the truth for refugees.

    Anybody can be a part of the marketing campaign and lift funds for UNHCR or simply exhibit help for refugees by way of monitoring actions like strolling, operating and biking. Regardless of what number of miles a person travels in a yr, they will nonetheless present solidarity with refugees and assist elevate consciousness concerning the hardships they face daily.

    – Sara Olk

    Picture: Flickr

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