Running for Refugee Women's Center!
On Earth Day (April 22) I will be running the Gazelle Girl all-women half marathon in Michigan! I am raising funds for the Dunkirk Refugee Women's Centre, who I had the opportunity to volunteer with in 2017. With the money I raise, they will be able to buy the women refugees some much-needed hygiene supplies, tents, blankets, and activities and fortified milk for the children.
WHY SUPPORT DUNKIRK REFUGEE WOMEN'S CENTER
Refugee Women's Center (RWC) is a small grassroots organization staffed entirely by women volunteers from around the world, supporting the refugees in Northern France. 90% of the Dunkirk refugee camp is Kurdish. Refugees congregate to this area due to its proximity to the Chunnel (tunnel from France to England) because they are trying to reach safety and family in the UK. The RWC is in need of funds and often resort to using their own personal money just to buy the children milk or purchase sanitary items for the women.
The first cases of trench foot since World War I are being seen in Northern France. The refugees face police intimidation, including having their sleeping bags destroyed and being teargassed and pepper sprayed. The French government is still not assuming responsibility for the hundreds of stateless refugees living rough in Dunkirk. What used to be an officially sanctioned refugee camp was burned down in April of last year, and since then there has been no government support, yet more and more refugees are arriving in the area. It is only through international donations and fundraisers like this that RWC and similar charities are able to function.
RWC is the ONLY organization that is reliably on the ground in Dunkirk every day of the week. Dozens of women rely on the RWC for not just physical and hygienic support, but also emotional support.
This is a global humanitarian crisis that is no longer receiving the media attention it deserves. I believe that all around the world we have a duty to help these people. Especially in the US, not everyone knows that our armed forces are supported daily by Kurdish troops fighting ISIS. This fighting has, however, put many Kurdish families in danger and forced them to flee their homes. I think we owe our solidarity to this community, and refugees from every country.
EVEN THE SMALLEST DONATION HELPS!
Because RWC is a small volunteer organization, 100% of funds go to helping the refugee women. There are no CEO salaries or fringe costs!
Even if you can only afford $5, it makes a difference. That's two pairs of socks and two less cases of Trench Foot.
Money also goes to buy medicine, sanitary supplies, sleeping bags, tarps, tents, van maintenance, baby wipes, and more from the regularly updated donations list: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hBPSAv_Nvohm3RtvRZ3_2KNOQNWItJ5PwJLXCMi9WIQ/edit
Thank you for reading! I'll be running 13.1 miles in April and hope to have your support with me!!!
Refugee Women's Center: https://www.facebook.com/refugeewomenscentre/
Blog posts on my volunteer experience: http://www.endlessdistances.com/category/ethical-travel/refugees/
Gazelle Girl half marathon: http://gazellegirlhalfmarathon.com/
Return of Trench Foot to Dunkirk: https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2017/8/4/in-the-depths-of-calais-the-return-of-trenchfoot
Police violence report: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/29/calais-child-refugees-police-beatings-harassment
There are five weeks until the big race. I just finished a 9 mile training run this morning in verrry cold Michigan weather. However, when I'm running outside in the elements, I just think of the women I know in Dunkirk who are living in thin tents in the same temperatures. Together we are raising money to make a difference for these women, however small - sleeping bags, socks, shoes, activities, and medical supplies.
Thank you again, and if you are thinking of donating, even a couple dollars helps!