Whoaaaa, we're halfway there!
May 17, 2017
BENEFITING: UNICEF USA
They say you never really understand someone's struggles until you walk a mile in their shoes. We've decided to take it a step further: raising money and awareness for the plight of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria while we thru-hike the 272-mile-long Vermont Long Trail.
We are Christina Platt and Eric Reichard, two avid hikers and Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management students at Penn State University. While we were out training for our hike, we started reflecting about how privileged we are to choose to do something like this: to push our bodies to the limits, to ration our food, to carry all of our belongings on our backs for hundreds of miles. And how privileged we are to do this with the knowledge that we will reach the end of our journey and return to our friends, our families and our homes.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict, 5 million Syrians, including more than 2 million children, have fled to foreign countries as refugees. People just like you and me and your neighbor down the street. People forced to leave their homes behind, often traveling hundreds of miles on foot with only that which they can carry on their backs.
For many, the harrowing physical journey is only the beginning. Even after asylum is granted, refugees must adjust to a new "normal" in an unfamiliar country where they are often viewed as second-class citizens. They must learn new languages and skills to support themselves and their families, all while piecing together shattered lives. There is no finish line, no celebration, no familiar home to return to.
Fortunately, there are relief organizations to aid refugees in need, but they need your support. "UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) has been on the ground since the conflict began, helping to mobilize the largest humanitarian operation in history and working closely with partners to provide education, water, health care and immunizations, physical protection, psychological support and clothing to children in Syria and Syrian refugee children in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Europe." - unicefusa.org
Please support our cause and help us raise $1000 to aid refugee children as we trek from Massachusetts to Quebec over 18 days. Even you don't have the funds, please take a moment to share our mission with friends and family. No donation is too small and every bit of support is appreciated. All money raised will go directly to UNICEF.