“We are not refugees anymore – we have become each other’s neighbours”
On saturday June 17 2017, we as locals and newcomers, old and young people, new and old neighbours formed the Charity Walk of Solidarity during ‘De nacht van de Vluchteling’ in Amsterdam. With the help of community New Neighbours, Women’s March Netherlands, organisation YWCA and foundation Mexaena, Doetank PEER created an inclusive and diverse team of more than fifty locals and New Neighbours with a strong message:
Our Charity Walk was not just about raising money for refugees far from your own country and frame of reference. It is about showing international solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are still on the run, celebrating and showcasting the diversity of locals and former refugees, new neighbours, that are now also part of the Netherlands, showing how integration is a two-way street by dancing the Arabic dance Dabke in every corner of the street, taking pride in our cultural differences and emphasising how we can do so much more if we exchange and learn from each other’s stories, cultures and experiences.
Our goal: €1000, result: € 4959 that directly went to stichting Vluchteling, a hard-working foundation that provides emergency aid to refugees all over the world.
“Months of preparing and organising the Charity Walk of Solidarity didn’t prepare us for the actual solidarity that happened when we walked ten kilometres in Amsterdam and thereby raised € 4959 for Stichting Vluchteling and our brothers and sisters who are still on the run. It’s almost five times more than our initial goal which shows that there is a strong sense of community, engagement and hope for a better world. I hope that initiatives like these keep uniting us and let us strive towards a world in which we all can claim a safe and equal space. It begins small, but yesterday we felt really big. We hope to unlock the humanity in people by doing this and that happened beyond our expectations.” – Jasper, initiator
“To see thousands people try to do participate in Nacht van de Vluchteling or donate their money gives me a nice feeling that we still have positive people and white hearts in this black world. International organisations, big states and countries do nothing to stop the war or finish this endless dark situation and do anything to show that there is still some respect for human rights. Some Syrians think that the human rights are only ink on papers and not true or realistic, but we still believe that there are humans who feel each other’s pain and suffering and walk to show their solidarity with refugees.” – Tamer Alalloush, Syrian co-founder of community New Neighbours
New Neighbours is an initiative in Utrecht and (online) community that brings new citizens and old citizens in the city of Utrecht together. For more info!