Eighth edition of Refugee Walk sets record for participants and raises over €475,000!
08-10-2023 | 07:00 Hour
Today, for the eighth time, we at Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen are organizing our annual Refugee Walk, and this year it's bigger and more impressive than ever. Participants demonstrate their solidarity by walking a symbolic route of 20 or 40 kilometers while raising funds for people on the run. This edition has already mobilized 2,148 participants across Belgium. Walkers have the option to join from the central event in Antwerp or choose a personal route in a region of their preference.
It started as a small event with 708 participants. Eight editions later, this year, the Refugee Walk has brought together more than 2,122 participants throughout Belgium, and sometimes even beyond. This is the highest number of participants ever, demonstrating a growing solidarity with people on the run. What makes it even more remarkable is that these walkers have raised over €470,000 - more than €120,000 above the set fundraising goal - for people on the run. This amount continues to grow as more walkers reach the finish line. This record-breaking amount underscores the immense solidarity that exists for those forced to flee their homes.
Tine Claus, director of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, emphasizes the importance of this event: "This year, the Refugee Walk is breaking all records, and I am incredibly delighted about it. It particularly shows that many people stand in solidarity with those on the run, either through making a donation or walking alongside. The Refugee Walk symbolizes that solidarity with people on the run while enabling Vluchtelingenwerk to continue its mission of defending the rights of these individuals. I am very grateful for that."
Support for Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen
Teams participating in the Refugee Walk raise funds directly contributing to the crucial work of Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen. This financial support empowers the organization to advocate for policies, raise awareness, run campaigns, provide initial reception for asylum seekers, offer legal assistance, and provide a wide range of educational opportunities, among many other valuable activities to support the rights of people on the run.
Growing Solidarity with People on the Run
What makes the Refugee Walk even more powerful is the growing solidarity shown by participants, involved organizations, and companies. They dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to fundraising for those on the run. For example, the punk band Midlife Motherfockers organized a full-fledged concert, Conscious Crew hosted a food festival called 'Conscious Cuisine,' Curieus vzw organized a slam poetry evening, and Amal Gent vzw partnered with Sphinx Cinema to host a film night. These countless actions, both big and small, brim with creativity and have a profound impact, demonstrating that no effort is too much for our walkers.
Central Event Routes
The 40-kilometer route kicks off at 8:00 AM in Zomerfabriek. It begins in Mortsel, taking us through the green areas around the Nete in Lier. We then traverse the rolling landscapes in the nature reserve in Vremde and the beautiful Borsbeek, ultimately ending in Berchem.
The 20-kilometer route starts at 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM in Zomerfabriek. It commences along the green surroundings of Fort 4 in Mortsel, continuing through the Frijthout Nature Reserve in Hove. The journey continues along a diverse path filled with parks, green landscapes, and nature reserves in Boechout, ending once again in Berchem.
Refugee Walk Supported by Atlas Antwerpen
Atlas Antwerpen has been closely connected with Vluchtelingenwerk and, in particular, the Refugee Walk for many years. This year, they are taking a step further by becoming the main partner of the Refugee Walk and providing support wherever needed. Atlas is a government agency that supports newcomers and speakers of other languages in Antwerp with their integration process. They have a strong connection with Vluchtelingenwerk and wholeheartedly support this event.
Atlas Antwerpen recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion and sees the Refugee Walk as an opportunity to bring people together and share positive stories. This year, they are even involving newcomers in the walk, creating a valuable opportunity to practice the Dutch language and connect people from different backgrounds.
View the visual material here.