Walk Like a Refugee 2019, June 4 – 9

Walking for the Lost Boys of Manus Island.

Guess what time it is! Time for Walk Like a Refugee, 2019 y'all!

On June 4, 2019, our family will walk approximately 135 km from Toronto to Niagara Falls. This is our third annual walk to raise funds for refugee causes.

This year we are walking for the Lost Boys of Manus Island. Specifically, those with sponsor groups waiting to welcome them to Toronto. But we are also walking for ALL the Lost Boys of Manus, to bring attention to their plight, so the world doesn’t forget them and so that what has happened to them might not happen again. And  for all the refugees who are suffering around the world and who can hopefully one day benefit from Canadian generosity.

The concept is simple: we put on some comfortable shoes and go for a long walk. You donate money to encourage us and that we put towards helping a few of the world’s more than 22 million refugees and 65 million displaced people.

The Lost Boys of Manus Island

For the past six years, hundreds of men have been living in various states of detention on Manus Island and in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

They left their homes in search of safety, and instead of finding welcome they were imprisoned by the Australian government, sent to nearby islands for “off shore processing.” Six years later Australia and PNG have closed the Manus centre, but continue to refuse to take responsibility for these men, who live in deplorable conditions, in detention or semi detention, in fear of the violent locals, and without adequate food, provisions, and access to medical care.

Meanwhile, the local governments are pressuring them to “voluntarily” return to where they came from -- where many face possible persecution, torture, and execution. Of 1,523 people sent to Manus, 646 (42%) people have been “voluntarily” returned to their countries of origin. For the most part, the Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International do not know what has happened to them.

As of March, 2019, there were no remaining detainees on Nauru. But many of the men of Manus continue to languish, their fates uncertain. We call these men The Lost Boys - because very few people even seem to know about them. It's like they don't exist.

The Australian government is washing its hands of them, while they still have nowhere to go.* And the world is still largely unaware of their existence. One of the goals of our walk this year is to get people talking about this and asking questions about how this has been allowed to happen.

To learn more about who we're sponsoring this year, please go to our About Us page. http://walklikearefugee.org/about/

 

*Several of these men have since learned that they will be sent to the United States. This means that we have had to change our original sponsorships and move down the list.

 

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