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Runners in Athens Raise Thousands for Syria

Runners in Athens Raise Thousands for Syria

Author Kiran Chaudhary by

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Sarah Dossani and Laila Kashlan

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Over one hundred Georgians raised $3,000 during a 5k run last week to help victims of the Syrian refugee crisis, one of the worst humanitarian crises in all of history.

Over 11 million people have been killed or forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Mothers, daughters, and fathers are leaving everything behind and fleeing their homes for the sake of their safety and their lives. Those left behind are struggling for basic necessities such as food and water.

Even those who manage to escape Syria face a journey to a potentially unreachable destination. Refugees must walk thousands of miles to reach the borders of neighboring countries,, mostly traveling during the night in rough paths in order to avoid capture by soldiers.

With this in mind, students at the University of Georgia came together this semester to create awareness for the Syrian refugee crisis amongst the Athens community. Despite the intensity of the crisis, many of our friends, classmates, and families still have little to no idea as to the crisis and the urgency of attention that it requires.

“Everyone has their political views, but we can all agree that every refugee is a human being seeking help,” said Katy Berry, the organizer who took the initiative to create this event.

Through the partnering of Mercy Corps and the Muslim Students Association at the University of Georgia, the Syrian Refugee 5k Run was formed. The purpose of the run was to create awareness of the crisis and understanding of the idea that these refugees are people just like us, looking for homes to start over, to build families, and to live their dreams. The average Syrian refugee that has fled Europe has walked the length of approximately 700 5K’s. The goal of the 5k was to walk a very small portion of what these refugees would do.

All registration fees and donations went towards the Syrian Refugees displaced throughout the world.

In addition to creating awareness, the goals of the 5k run were too:

1.) Raise money that is going directly towards food, shelter, and emotional traumatic support refugees

2.) Spread word of the crisis through word of mouth, social media, etc.

3.) Bring attention to Syria by coming together as a community

This event did not only attract individuals in Athens, GA, but runners from the Atlanta Muslim Running Club, Georgia State University, and individuals from all around the Metro Atlanta Area.

“It was incredible to see so many people come out and dedicate their run to refugees. We hope to do a race or another benefit next year for Syrian refugees until each Syrian finds a place he or she can call home,” said Katy Berry.

Over 140 individuals attended and approximately $3000 dollars were raised for the refugees. All proceeds went towards the Syrian Refugees through an organization called Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps is currently working in Syria and nearby camps and communities where Syrian refugees are living in both the Middle East and Europe.

All photo credits to Sarah Dossani and Laila Kashlan

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