Walk with Us

Join our 40-day challenge to walk in solidarity with refugees

Join JRS/USA in raising awareness for and expressing solidarity with refugees by participating in this 40-day challenge to reach 40 miles.

Walk, run, cycle, or move in the way that works for you to reach 40 miles by November 14 – JRS Day and JRS’s 40th Anniversary!

As we continue to social distance and limit our travel, this 40-day challenge to reach 40 miles will assist JRS in raising awareness for refugees and of our work to accompany, serve, and advocate on behalf of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. During the challenge we’ll bring the stories of refugees to your inbox and ask that you walk with them as you physically walk 40 miles in solidarity. Then, share your experience with your network and community.

Deadline to register has passed.

You can still make a gift in support of and solidarity with refugees:

 

If you’ve already registered, don’t forget to log your miles using this Google form.

We encourage you to share the stories and actions in our weekly email using social media. Tag JRS in your photos and use the hashtag #40Miles4Refugees.

Every refugee has their story, yet so often they are not given the space to share their story. Help amplify their stories by taking the #40Miles4Refugees challenge.

Please contact outreach@jrsusa.org with any and all questions.

Looking for support as you complete this challenge? Click here for a link to share with sponsors.

Thank you for joining Jesuit Refugee Service/USA in our #40Miles4Refugees challenge. We are here to support you in reaching your goal of 40 miles (or more!) by November 14 – JRS’s  40th Anniversary. Each week, we encourage you to learn and share the stories of the people we have accompanied and served as they journey to find refuge.

Week 1 – Start Your Journey

Story of the Week: I Will Walk Again

 Hana’a AL-Saleh is a 10-year-old girl in Syria. She was hit by a stray bullet which caused her to lose the use of her legs. She was distraught by this injury and by the war that had displaced her family and ravaged her country for almost a decade. Hana’a found hope through her friends and through the program she attended at the JRS Center in Aleppo.

You can watch a video about her story here.

 

Take Action

  1. Share Hana’a’s story using #40Miles4Refugees on social media.
  2. Keep all who have been injured or killed on their journey to find safety in your thoughts and prayers this week.
  3. Find ways you can take action for refugees while social distancing by visiting our Companions at Home page.

Week 2 – Protecting the Future

Mirabelle is a 12-year-old girl in the 4th grade who lives in Bambari, Central African Republic (CAR). She “attends” the School on the Radio and has been involved in recording lessons for the program.

“I was unhappy with the closure of schools because of the coronavirus. I welcomed the program on the radio with great joy and satisfaction.”

You can watch her speak about her story here.

Since mid-June 2020, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), has been producing the educational program L’École à la Radio (The School on the Radio) on weekdays. The project is aimed to reach preschool and primary students who have not been able to go back to class since March 2020. It has become an important learning support and psychosocial accompaniment during this time. So far, the program is regularly listened by over 2,980 people (children and parents).

Take Action

  1. Submit your miles from the previous week using this Google Form.
  2. Listen to our Spotify playlist as you gain mileage. Let us know if you have any recommendations and we’ll add them to our playlist.
  3. Read our report “Protecting the Future: Education for Refugees During COVID-19″ to learn more about how JRS teachers are working to provide an education during this pandemic. You can also support our work in education by sending an email to your representatives and urging them to support Education Cannot Wait.

Week 3 – Designing Dreams

Adariju Hannatu Barta was at school one morning when she and her fellow students started to hear gun shots. Chaos broke out, so she ran to find her parents and siblings. They had to immediately evacuate.

“We didn’t have the opportunity to carry our belongings. We only had the opportunity to carry our credentials. Then we were set to leave Mubi.”

Life was never the same for Adariju and her family who are internally displaced in Nigeria. It was not until a friend called her and told her about JRS. She then began to train to become a fashion designer. She learned how to sew and create clothes for herself and her family. She was given a start-up kit at the end of her training that she has used to grow her own business. Adariju now has customers whom she designs clothes for, and she also teaches individuals to sew.

You can watch her speak about her story here.

Take Action

  1. Submit your miles from the previous week (week 2) using this Google Form.
  2. Check out our visual resource, We Don’t Walk Alone, to learn more about other stories of people experiencing displacement. Learn more about internally displaced people (IDPs), like Adariju and her family, and how JRS accompanies those who have been displaced within their home country, by visiting this page.
  3. Also, please feel free to share with us your reflections as you go forward in this challenge. If you’d like to write down some words for us, please submit them to joshua.utter@jrsusa.org.

Week 4 – Racing Toward the Future

Filamon has persevered through two refugee camps, where he and his family have suffered without adequate food and water. He has found his passion and drive to preserve through cycling and painting. He attends art classes led by JRS, in which his paintings tell stories of people who’ve risked their lives seeking safety in Europe or elsewhere.

“I’m showing that people who cannot pay ransom on their journey are getting killed or tortured until they find the money.”

His paintings bring awareness to the trafficking that goes on and the immense risks to the lives of refugees.

Filamon finds peace from his daily troubles within cycling, his true passion. Filamon hopes that one day his will fulfill his goal of racing in the Tour de France.

Click here to watch more on Filamon’s inspiring story.

Take Action

1. Submit your miles from the previous week using this Google Form.
2. Join JRS/USA in advocating for refugee resettlement by letting your members of Congress know that refugees are welcome here by taking action today. JRS/USA will be joining our partners in a digital day of action TODAY to raise awareness of refugee resettlement, so keep an eye out on social media!
3. Pray with us using this prayer card honoring Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, who founded JRS in 1980.

Week 5 – Welcome and Protect

Maria is a 30-year-old mother of two young children who was forced to flee from her home in Honduras. As she and her family journeyed north to the US border, they faced kidnapping and extortion. When they finally reached the US border, they were detained and told that there was no place for them in the United States, so they were sent back to Mexico to wait for an asylum hearing. When they arrived back in Mexico, they were given the option of staying in a city where Maria didn’t feel safe or taking a bus to southern Mexico, where Maria felt she had to forfeit her asylum hearing in the US in order to keep her children safe. Maria says, “I don’t want to face again everything I already faced.”

Click here to learn more about Maria’s story.  You can also read other stories like Maria’s in JRS/USA’s report Stranded: The Impact of US Policies on Asylum Seekers.

Take Action
1. Submit your miles from the previous week using this Google Form.
2. Learn more about the impact of US policies on asylum seekers by reading our report Stranded. Also, join our Jesuit partners and take action through the #solidarityacrossborders campaign.
​​​​3. If you haven’t already, be sure to vote tomorrow!

Week 6 – We Won’t Give Up

Story of the Week: Uplifting Others Through Entertainment
From an early age, Lual Mayen’s creative side shone brightly. He once built a fake television that his family would sit around and listen as he told stories animated with handmade characters. Today, Lual tells similar stories through the video games he creates.

A refugee from South Sudan, Lual attended a JRS school in Uganda. Education played an important role in his life, especially as his mother instilled in him the importance of studying. Not only encouraging him to study, Lual’s mother supported his interests. She worked for two years to buy Lual a computer. With this gift in his hands, graphic design became his passion.

As he developed his skills, with a dream to do something that would change the future, Lual designed a video game that was unlike the others he played when he was younger. “Instead of killing people, you have to make sure you save people.” This idea came to fruition, giving Lual the opportunity to expand his company, ultimately leading to an offer to work in Washington, DC. Now in the US, he continues to create games that inspire other refugees.  As Lual says, “I want to use my platform to give back to them.”

Read more about Lual and his inspiring journey. Lual will also be speaking at our 40th Anniversary fundraising event on Thursday, November 12.

Take Action
1. Submit your miles from the previous week (week 5) using this Google Form.
2. Sign up here to get the latest on refugee policy and how you can take action. Our action alerts will update you on the most current ways you can actively stand with displaced people in the US and globally.​​​​​​
​​​​3. Write about your experience. If you want, send your reflection (100 words) to joshua.utter@jrsusa.org and we will share them on our website.