Local Refugee Walk in Eeklo02 October 2023 14:08
Humanistisch Verbond (The Humanist Alliance) and the Red Cross Reception Centre Eeklo are jointly organising a local Refugee Walk. Useful for East Flanders sympathisers who want to experience the togetherness of the sponsored walk closer to home. The Humanist Alliance is an organisation that aims to affirm human values such as tolerance and solidarity through educational activities. "We do this, among other things, by organising lectures, debates and outings that promote those values," clarifies educator Tine.
"Our own Refugee Walk is a way of turning the sometimes very theoretical lectures and debates on a tolerant society into a concrete experience that stimulates and activates humanist values."
"The people who join our activities tend to be highly educated, white men. Our own Refugee Walk is a way to transform the sometimes very theoretical lectures and debates on a tolerant society into a concrete experience that stimulates and activates humanist values. The personal dialogue with people on the run is sometimes still missing from our operations," Tine says: "By engaging in conversation with refugees and empathising with their personal stories, values such as tolerance and solidarity are sparked in a very tangible way."
This is confirmed by Joris from at the Reception Centre in Eeklo: "Contact with people on the run is essential to generate solidarity." Joris is a supervisor at the reception centre for applicants for international protection in Eeklo. His job is to encourage contact between local residents and the centre's residents and maintain its quality: "I have learned from practice that a testimony from someone on the run invariably leaves a stronger impression than theoretical conversations about a tolerant society."
First mini Refugee Walk in Eeklo
"When Tine organised a walk in Gentbrugge last year, it was difficult for us to get the shelter residents to Gentbrugge by public transport. That's why," Joris says, "we agreed last year to organise a walk in Eeklo this time." "And that is ideal," continues Tine, "because the reception centre is right at the entrance to the beautiful nature reserve Het Leen."
Working around diversity doesn't always have to be complex
"Whether we have any tips for other CSOs that want to set something like this up? I mainly think many associations are held back by the idea that such an action has to be big and complex," Joris says. "But that doesn't have to be the case at all: something simple like a walk can also achieve a lot."
"The Refugee Walk provides a framework for organisations like ours to work around diversity in their own neighbourhood while raising funds for an institution that knows how best to spend those funds. So if, as an association, you are not sure how to start something like this, participating in the Refugee Walk is the first step in the right direction!"
The local Refugee Walk starts at 2pm from the grounds of the reception centre (Pokmoere 1A in Eeklo) for a relaxing and fraternal 10km walk. One stop is provided along the way and a refreshing drink awaits on return. Everyone welcome!