SolidarityNow Refugee Team… Runs with Heart and Solidarity at the 6th International Thessaloniki Night Half-Marathon

#SolidarityNow_Refugee_Team participates in the *6th International Thessaloniki Night Marathon. Following the participation at last year’s Athens Classic Marathon, with the first group of refugees in the history of the Marathon, this year more than 20 refugees and immigrants –beneficiaries of the organization’s from the **Accommodation project and the ***Blue Refugee Center (BRC), along with SolidarityNow’s staff members, will run with heart and solidarity for a friend, a parent, a sibling; and for the Greek people they met and Greece that has welcomed them.

SolidarityNow Refugee Team is consisted by 13 Syrians, 8 Afghani, 1 Lebanese, and 6 members of SolidarityNow’s staff (4 Greeks, 1 Syrian and 1 Afghani). The most remarkable characteristic of this multinational team is that most of the runners are teenagers and women (22 women, 6 men). Furthermore, 3 mothers from Syria, will run along with their children.

Some of the participants are temporarily accommodated at the SolidarityNow housing structures in Thessaloniki; moreover, they are asylum seekers and in the forthcoming future they will be relocated to another European country to start their new life or to be reunited with their families.

Sending a Message | “I Run for…”

Shreen Hakan, 40 years old is a Kurdish Syrian mother of 2 children. Currently, she is living in Greece waiting for an identified period for family reunification. Shreen is a very dynamic and lively woman and she has a thirst for knowledge. She is taking English courses at the Blue Refugee Center of SolidarityNow in Thessaloniki. “While I will be running I will be thinking of my husband, who is in Germany. I haven’t seen him for two years now. I will run this Saturday because I want to send him a special message. My message is that ‘I am here but I am coming to meet you soon’”, says Shreen.

Bediya Seyid, 35, originally comes from Syria and she has 4 children. Bediya is learning English at the Blue Refugee Center. She knows some words in Greek but her daughter Slava, 13 years old, speaks almost fluently. Bediya is also waiting for family reunification. Her husband is in Austria. “I will not run, I will just walk, my daughter Slava will run. I am participating in this race because my children wanted to and I really wanted to do a fun activity with them. One more reason is that I have spent a nice time here in Greece and I want to have memories of the country and its people. I will carry these memories with me when I will be in Austria”, notes Bediya.

Slava, Bediya’s daughter, goes to 6th grade and she speaks three languages: Greek, English and Arabic. “I really like running but I participate in this race because I want to be with my friends. Besides that, I want to have memories of my life in Greece. When I will run I will think about my father. I want to tell him that ‘I will run to you papa’”, says Slava.

On Saturday, October 14nth, the 6th Half Marathon of Thessaloniki will send an additional message through the SolidarityNow Refugee Team: the message of coexistence, human rights, participation and equality.

* The 6th International Thessaloniki Night Marathon is an initiative of the Protergia enterprise and includes the Half-Marathon race and the 5.000m of the Health and Strength Dynamics Path.

** The SolidarityNow Hosting and Accommodation project is part of ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation program, implemented by UNHCR and funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).

*** The BRC is supported by UNHCR and UNICEF and funded by European Commission – Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).