A hike for refugees: Towards 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety

Last April 27, I was fortunate to get invited by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to attend their campaign called 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety.

The campaign brings together participants from around the world to cover 2 billion kilometers, just as refugees do each year to reach their first point of safety.

They describe their campaign in detail:

Families who have been forced to flee make extraordinary efforts to survive. In solidarity with them, at a time when there are more and more global crises forcing people from their homes, we are coming together to honor their resilience and determination to keep their families safe.

Together, we are challenging ourselves to cover two billion kilometers in 12 months, just as refugees worldwide do each year to reach the nearest point of safety. From South Sudan to Uganda, Myanmar to Bangladesh, Syria to Jordan; they have endured long, dangerous and difficult journeys.

Through this collective effort we will show our solidarity, build better understanding of refugees and raise money to protect refugees and help them to rebuild their lives.

With the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Philippines, we covered additional kilometers by hiking with Trail Adventours, a mountain tour company that offers nature, culture, and adventure.

Photo taken from UNHCR Philippines’ Instagram account

Together with us in the hike was Atom Araullo, who is currently the Goodwill Ambassador of UNHCR Philippines.

Atom explains the campaign to the participants and media

With our hike, we logged in 150km for the 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign. If you’re interested to join and learn more about the movement, check out UNHCR’s website.

From this point, the rock formations were around five minutes away

The plight of the refugees is something far from my common experiences, which is why joining this campaign opened my eyes to their realities. From across the world, refugees are escaping from conflict-stricken areas to find safe spaces and protect their families. This campaign, more than just a leisurely travel experience in the mountains, reminds us of the daily struggles of refugees to make ends meet and secure their lives.

My fellow hikers in the campaign

Our group of frequent hikers, first-time hikers, and hiking rookies consisted mainly of people from the media. I must say I’m privileged that Triple Bottom Line, my passion project, has been invited to such a campaign.

One thing I love to highlight in this campaign is its creative push for sustainable tourism dedicated to reminding everyone of the plight of refugees. UNHCR, a development organization, together with Trail Adventours, a tourism company, worked together to create a platform to help make the campaign a success. Non-profit and profit organizations working together is, I would say, one of the hallmarks of making sustainability a reality.

In the long run, we continue to hope that our dear refugees will eventually find the safe spaces and security for their families that they deserve.

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