By Una Murphy
‘Miles for Refugees’ a new, tech-focused fundraising initiative is “a brilliant and symbolic way to raise much needed funds and also identify with the journeys of the world’s displaced people," according to Sharon Sinclair, Red Cross Northern Ireland Director for Independent Living & Crisis Response.
The campaign encourages supporters to walk, run, swim or cycle a distance of their choice this September. Fundraisers can complete their challenge in bite-size chunks, logging their progress as they go via a dedicated online dashboard produced in partnership with the fund-raising platform everydayhero.
The campaign aims to highlight the fact that refugees are travelling huge distances to escape conflict, often ending up many miles away from the loved ones they’ve had to leave behind.
The Red Cross in the UK has trained caseworkers who can support and guide people through the family reunion process. Once visas have been granted, people only have 30 days to travel to the UK. The charity helps with travel logistics and costs, ensuring that families are reunited quickly and safely.
Ms Sinclair said: “Red Cross volunteers in Northern Ireland have been saddened to see the humanitarian needs of the world’s refugee population increase so dramatically over the past five years and have been working hard to welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers arriving in our local communities. We are often asked how people can help, what can they possibly do to make a difference to such a vast problem? Well, people can volunteer their time for our own or other voluntary services working with refugees or they can show solidarity with the most vulnerable people in society by fundraising and getting involved in great initiatives like this”.