Thanks for taking the time to visit my Big Walk 2016 JustGiving page. More information about The Big Walk 2016 can be found at www.shef.ac.uk/big-walk
For those who do not know I was born in South Africa to British parents. Therefore, I grew up in the UK on the edge of the South African White Anti-apartheid community in the UK. I remember the sombre talks at home between parents and their friends about who had just arrived in the UK. It was usually sons of friends who were refusing to do military service. Just because I am a white English speaking person does not make me immune from the need for refuge. I want to live in a country that is big enough welcome and develop those who seek refuge with us.
Equally I am aware of the skills and talents many people bring to this country when they seek refuge. Many refugees who make it to the UK are educated and able. Letting the skills and talents remain latent seems a waste. Giving those who can chance to participate in University education and research, not only develops their abilities but also exposes them to the culture of a British University.
I am therefore taking part in University of Sheffield Big Walk 2016 which seeks to raise money for for refugee academics and students at the University of Sheffield.
The Big Walk 2016 combines two key events - The Trans Pennine Trail and the One Day Walking Challenge.
2 teams of 10 staff from the University will each be walking over 120 miles from 12-17 June to Sheffield on the Trans Pennine Trail, one team from the west coast in Southport and the other from the east coast in Hornsea. They will meet in Tankersley, north of Sheffield on Day 5.
I will be part of the One Day Challenge team of staff, students, alumni and friends who will join the TPT teams and walk the 18 miles back to the University campus the following day, Friday 17 June
Eighteen miles is going to be a challenge. I have held back until now from doing it simply because I like to be more confident I can achieve what I set out to. I am reasonably fit and easily walk over twelve miles but eighteen is a step up.
Funds raised through the Big Walk will be used to support refugee academics and students at the University, to demonstrate our solidarity with refugees and to show that refugees are welcome at our University and in our city. Our University is a University of Sanctuary and this has been our tradition since this institution was founded.
Funds raised through the Big Walk 2016 will be used in the following ways:
• Supporting at-risk academics: We have strong links with a number of programmes to support at-risk academics, including the Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund and the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) - a charity which helps academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile. Through these partnerships, the University of Sheffield can host academics, giving them a place of safety and the financial and practical help to continue their careers until such as time as they can return home.
• Students seeking refuge or asylum: The University offers fully funded undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for refugees including those seeking asylum in the UK. Throughout 2016 we will be raising funds to increase this support.
Thank you for supporting the Big Walk 2016.
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