And we have walked 100,000 miles!
20 August 2018
Thousands of you have joined together to walk over 100,000 miles in solidarity with refugees and migrants for the Share the Journey campaign. Whether on your own, in groups, on a volcano or around a hospital bed – you all found a special way to speak up for the rights of people forced to flee their homes. We say a big thank you for all your hard work and the incredible impact you have made!
To celebrate this, on 15 August, we created a display of shoes outside Westminster Cathedral. The shoes reflected the journeys of millions of refugees and migrants as well as the personal journeys you made to share their journeys.
But our journey is not over. We still continue to walk - to add miles to our totaliser and to tell our leaders that they need to step up and protect the rights of people on the move.
The shoes came from refugees and migrants from across the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone. But an incredible number of the shoes used in this display also come from you. So many of you shared not only our journey, but your own stories from along the way.
We've singled out a few of those stories from home and away:
Andrew Milne was able to take part in our journey, even from an extremely fragile state in hospital. He went on regular walks during his time in hospital to try to regain his strength. His wife, Agnes suggested he use these walks as a way to contribute to the campaign. Andrew walked twenty metres across the ward three times a day until he reached his mile, adding his bit to the final totaliser. Unfortunately, Andrew has since passed away. He was an inspiration to all of us and we keep him and his family in our prayers.
The war clashes between Nyantura and the Mayimayi Janvier Karaire (illegal armed groups) has been a challenge to a young generation. Dreams and inspiration are no longer in the minds of young people. Ciza was a newly married man of 28 years old. He had to run to save his life and the lives of his family in 2017, when clashes broke out along Kitshanga Village nearby Mwesso city in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tragically, Ciza lost his wife to gun shots. Now Ciza stays with two children - his biological two year old daughter and another adopted four year old son from another member of his family. He travelled 70km with his wedding shoes, which, according to Ciza 'were strong'. Ciza gave up this pair of shoes as a way of processing his memories for his beloved wife.
“We were once strangers and kind people made us welcome. Now it’s our turn to be those kind people.”
Tony Willock, from Hallam diocese, took part in his own Share the Journey walk with his parish. As they walked, they came together with representatives of nine other parishes from the area to share in the hope and solidarity that the walk represents. During the collective 185 mile walk, they reflected on their own identities. Tony says, "It became clear that each of us had at some point been newcomers to the city and our parish. Take it a stage further, and three of our families had roots outside of England. We were once strangers and kind people made us welcome. Now it’s our turn to be those kind people."
Emily from Liverpool has done three walks for Share the Journey - one in her office, one with a Cathsoc and one with her parish. She managed to wrack up an impressive 12 miles in total. Emily said:
“I decided to support cafod’s share the journey campaign because I felt that the refugee crisis is something that affects us all, and so many people are in need of our support & solidarity. The message of the campaign is simple and powerful, and the discussions that the campaign and walks have raised hae been both thought provoking and moving. It’s so important that we all come together to support our brothers and sisters in need, especially in these times of division & hatred. Share the journey is an important & wonderful & easy way of making our voices heard, and doing our bit as Catholics.”
Leila is 6 years old, and along with her friends and teachers at the English Martyrs Primary School Reading, she clocked up a total of 330 miles for Share the Journey. 412 children, 28 adults and Francesca (the CAFOD puppet) walked around the school perimeter. The younger children did one lap and older ones did more. Some of the Year 6 children walked all afternoon and must have covered about 5 miles. Luckily they enjoyed a “shower” as they passed by the Early Years classroom to cool them down.
The journey doesn't stop there
Feeling inspired yet? We've started our fifth walk around the world, and think this will send a strong signal to world leaders that we are watching them, especially when they make key decisions at the UN on refugees and migrants next month and in December.
Why not join us on our fifth? Or if you've done a walk, sign the petition to Theresa May, asking her to ensure the UN global compacts (agreements) keep human dignity at the heart of the decision making.