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.
1. What is 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety?
The 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign is a virtual walk or run where we are challenging participants from across the globe to cover 2 billion kilometers, just as refugees do each year to reach the first point of safety. Participants can use fitness apps to add their kilometers to the global total or they can add them directly onto this campaign website. Participants may also seek sponsorship to fundraise for UNHCR.
2. How was that figure of 2 billion kilometers calculated?
We calculated the figure of 2 billion kilometers using UNHCR statistics of refugee and asylum seeker arrivals from 2016. We are aware that figures change, and in fact, we know that the 2017 figure is considerably higher than 2 billion kilometers, but we preferred to select a conservative estimate so we are not inflating the numbers.
3. I’ve seen the campaign called 1 Billion Miles to Safety and 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety. But isn’t 1 mile equal to 1.6 kilometers and not 2?
Yes, we are aware that 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers, so 1 billion miles = 1.6 billion kilometers. For this campaign, we have rounded the kilometer figure to 2 billion, and, as the 2017 figures we have calculated are higher than those from 2016, 2 billion kilometers is not inaccurate.
4. Is there a fundraising target as well for this campaign?
The campaign is a virtual walk or run. UNHCR is challenging participants from across the globe to cover 2 billion kilometers, just as refugees do each year to reach the first point of safety. Participants can use fitness apps to add their kilometers to the global total or they can add them directly onto the campaign website, www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph.
We are also encouraging everyone to raise sponsorship, fundraise or donate money as well as kilometres to the global total if they are able to. We are engaging companies to support the campaign and donate as well. The fundraising target for the campaign is to raise USD 15 million (approximately PHP 795 million) to help deliver life-saving support to refugees in the moment they reach safety.
5. If people donate, where does the money go?
Within the first 72 hours of a refugee emergency, UNHCR intervenes to deliver life-saving reception services to assist more than half a million people. Working with government authorities and local partners, our emergency response team quickly locates and identifies those needing urgent help to ensure that we can save as many lives as possible, while we transfer people to safer, more equipped locations to provide more comprehensive care.
Here are a few examples of how your donations can help provide a base to ensure vital health and the protection of fundamental human rights for people forced to flee:
· Fleeing towards safety is precarious for any refugee, but for those who are young or very old, the journey is particularly punishing, especially if it was without access to good food or clean water. PHP 1000/month is enough to provide emergency water for around 25 refugees who have just reached safety and protection.
· PHP 3000 is enough for a tarpaulin to help make a weatherproof emergency shelter, but for people forced to flee, it provides much more than that: it helps to create a safe shelter, which is vital for protecting people’s personal security, privacy and well-being.
· PHP 3000 could pay for an essential kitchen set containing cooking cutlery, plates and utensils so a family that has completed an exhausting journey can rest and share meals together, knowing they are safe.
· When people first arrive at a safe location, they are often in a terrible state. Many arrive needing medical care due to the stress of fleeing. Some may be silently carrying the effects of sexual assaults and violent attacks. Around PHP 5000 can provide a refugee with the emergency counselling and psychological support they need following the tragic situation they’ve just endured.
· A lack of nutrients and clean water can impair childhood development, causing irreparable damage to a child’s health and potential throughout their life. For children who have been forced to flee their homes, access to healthy food and safe drinking water can be nearly impossible, which can lead to illness and disease. PHP 5000 is enough to help treat 40 children ill with diarrhea from drinking unsafe water while fleeing.
6. What is UNHCR doing to help people taking dangerous journeys to reach safety?
We provide life saving aid in emergencies, but also protection, shelter, health and education to millions of people around the world who have been forced from their homes.
Our dedicated staff work in 128 countries around the world, from major capitals to remote and often dangerous locations.
7. What did UNHCR do to help the refugees featured in this campaign?
Once Opani reached the UNHCR registration center in Uganda, she and her daughter Brenda were provided with medical screening, hot food and emergency shelter. Supported by the Ugandan Government and UNHCR, Opani has been assigned a plot of land at the Imvepi settlement, where she can start rebuilding her life.
When Alin and her family arrived in Bangladesh, they were given shelter, plastic sheeting and bamboo – all from UNHCR. They also received a cooking kit, mats and blankets, giving them the basis to help rebuild their lives.
Zeenab and her family were relocated to Za'atari camp after arriving in Jordan. They are now receiving cash assistance from UNHCR, providing them with the funds needed to insulate their shelter and pay for fuel to keep them warm during the winter months.
8. What if I don’t have a fitness app?
If you don’t have a fitness app, you can add your distances manually on www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph. Set yourself a target and then add the kilometres straight onto the website, up to a maximum of 50km per entry.
9. What if I can’t walk very far?
That’s ok! What’s more important is your intent for joining the global movement that honours the resilience of refugees who leave behind everything to reach safety. Whatever distance you can contribute to the global goal of 2 billion kilometers is valued and appreciated.
There are a lot of misconceptions about refugees. Here are some facts:
Through this movement we aim to build better understanding for some of the most vulnerable people of our time.
This global movement is being organised by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. We are the world’s leading organisation dedicated to supporting people forced to flee or those deprived of a nationality. We lead international action to protect them, deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, and help to safeguard fundamental human rights.