UNHCR Jordan launches the “2 Billion Kilometres to Safety” Campaign at the Dead2Red Running Race

Each year, refugees around the world walk 2 billion kilometres from their homes in search of safety. This year, UNHCR Jordan is launching the #StepWithRefugees campaign at the Dead2Red Running Race, to show solidarity and foster greater understanding of refugees in the region.

© UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

Each year, refugees around the world walk 2 billion kilometres from their homes in search of safety. This year, UNHCR Jordan is launching the #StepWithRefugees campaign at the Dead2Red Running Race, to show solidarity and foster greater understanding of refugees in the region. By putting together two teams mixing staff together with refugees, UNHCR aims to highlight the importance of this campaign by adding a humanitarian component to Jordan’s sporting events.

UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

The #StepWithRefugees campaign is a global initiative launched in January 2019, calling for people all over the world to cover the distance travelled by refugees each year. The 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign encourages individuals to “donate their steps”, by logging distances covered on the stepwithrefugees.org website.

After months of dedicated training, UNHCR will be kicking off the campaign in Jordan with the Dead2Red marathon as two teams, made up of ten UNHCR staff members and ten refugees. The refugees come from a diverse set of nationalities, including Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemeni, from Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps, as well as urban areas.

UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

“This marathon is a great opportunity for refugees. Every step we take will boost morale for other refugees, showing that we are working hard to raise awareness of our strength and capabilities,” says Ahmed, a Syrian refugee living in Zaatari camp.

As a professional level Teqball player who has participated in numerous world championships, Ahmed refuses to allow his status as a refugee to hinder his pursuit of his dreams. “It is also important that we participate in events outside of the camp, because it helps us integrate with the local community.”

Meanwhile, this event will be Huda’s first experience outside of Amman since arriving from Qaraqosh three years ago at a young age. “My family is very supportive of my training and participation in the marathon,” she says, “being a refugee is difficult, we left our homes but found a new one here, and I am thankful for the opportunity to run and show how important it is to persevere.”

UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

Although the runners are extremely competitive, their main purpose for taking part in Dead2Red is to use this platform to show how refugees can locally integrate. Jordan itself currently hosts over 760,000 refugees of 57 nationalities who all have made significant journeys in search of safety.  Through the #StepWithRefugees campaign, UNHCR Jordan aims to boost solidarity with refugees, highlighting their willingness and capability to contribute to host communities.

UNHCR/Lilly Carlisle

After launching the campaign at the Dead2Red marathon, UNHCR Jordan is encouraging the public to get involved, by promoting the campaign through different avenues such with gyms, corporate supporters and additional sporting events. If you are interested in joining the campaign, please visit the website: https://stepwithrefugees.org/en-ae/dead-2-red/