WCI will “Walk to Syria” to Raise Funds to Reunite Family

WCI students walk around the school on their break. Photo by Sidra Ismail.

Four years ago, a Syrian family ran away from Syria to Turkey because of war. After living in Turkey for a little while, they decided to move to Canada.

The move to Canada involved a lot of paperwork and making trips to another city for interviews. 

What the family did not know at the time is that five of the family members were successfully registered to move to Canada, but the two brothers were not. 

The family decided to continue with the move to Canada and to sponsor the two brothers  after.

That was four years ago.

When they got to Waterloo, the three children were registered in schools. WCI was one of the schools.

The fundraiser “Walk for Hope” is being promoted with this logo.

In an effort to support this family reunite after being apart for so long, WCI’s Leadership class is running a fundraiser: Walk for Hope. The fundraiser is called “Walk 4 Hope” because the school is trying to raise money and walk to Syria which is 9,371 km away. Each participant is required to walk a total of 25 km which is 5km every day throughout the week. Students have to at least raise $20 to participate in the fundraiser. If a student raises $75+, they will get up to 10 volunteer hours as well as a Walk for Hope shirt. 

This is the third  fundraiser to raise money to help reunite  this family. The first was called “Arts for Hope” where people donated their art for an auction. Arts for Hope raised around $10,000. 

Amina I., a former WCI student who was a leader of the student group, Crossing Borders, talked about how this fundraiser went. “This was a really good fundraiser, and I am proud of what we have accomplished because this was all online during a pandemic,” she said.

The second fundraiser that happened was called “Portraits for Hope” where people could book a photoshoot for $100 per family for a 30 minute session. 

The money that was raised from both earlier fundraisers was not enough to bring the two brothers, so another fundraiser, Walk for Hope, was organized. 

Kate D., a member of the leadership class said, “One of the teachers [at WCI] talked to us about [the fundraiser] and as soon as we heard what it was about, we all wanted to help”

She said, “I think [Walk for Hope] is going well, we have many students who are interested and are raising money. I am very excited for the end results”.

When asked about difficulties the leadership is facing when running a fundraiser during a pandemic, Kate said, “It has been difficult planning any events, but especially this one. I feel like many students are not signing up because it is more difficult and they do not always like to put the effort.” 

One way that the leadership students have been prompting this fundraiser is through making TikTok videos. The teachers at WCI have participated in making videos as well. 

WCI teachers participate in a TikTok video to promote Walk for Hope fundraiser.
WCI leadership students created a TikTok video to promote the Walk for Hope fundraiser.

Another way that leadership students have been trying to get more students to sign up is by offering them prizes. For example, the first 20 students who signed up for the fundraiser got a WCI lanyard. Also, whoever raises the most amount of money, will get $100 worth of spirit wear.

Walk for Hope fundraiser is partnered with Mennonite Central Committee and Crossing Borders Team to sponsor this family. The goal is to raise $10.000 virtually, and staff and students will be recording their distances walked through a cellphone app from October 26th-30th. Students are can raise money online as people can donate through this website.     

They have also created a google classroom for all the participants to join and stay up to date. There are 194 participants in the Google classroom.

Pledge forms need to be complete by October 21st for students in Cohort A and by October 23rd for students in Cohort B.