When you watch the news nowadays, it is hard not to feel disheartened by stories of refugees who are struggling to survive. In Greece, we hear about refugees, including pregnant women, babies, and children, who are fighting to live through winter.
In December 2015, activist Tahar Jumaat was in Losvos, Greece, helping out with the refugees’ crisis. He met a young Syrian lad who came to the island on a flimsy dingy. He did not have many things with him, and had to walk an arduous journey of more than 500km from Athens to the border of Macedonia.
Instead of succumbing to hopelessness, activist Tahar Jumaat decided to take action. On 18 January, Tahar walked 100km around Singapore to raise SGD 10,000 and increase awareness about the plight of these refugees. Throughout the march, he relied solely on the goodwill of individuals to give him food and water, just like the refugees who flee their home countries. His friend Arif, who is a documentary photographer and an active volunteer, recorded and uploaded videos and photos on the ‘100km March for Refugees Winter Aid – Singapore’ Facebook page. While his experiences are similar to the refugees’, the duo admits that it is only a fraction of the thirst, hunger, and fatigue that the refugees feel on a daily basis.
At the end of Tahar’s grueling walk, the team exceeded their target and raised an overwhelming SGD 23,000. True to his humble nature, Tahar did not take any credit for himself. Instead, Tahar expressed his sincere gratitude to those who helped him selflessly. He thanked his family who gave their support at every phase of the walk, the kind donors who helped them achieve their goal and everyone who went out of their way to provide food and water at different checkpoints. For example, he shared about a generous migrant worker who was working under the scorching sun. When Tahar asked for some water from his bottle, the worker remarked that it was no longer cold and rushed off to find cold water for him.
Every effort counts, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Tahar shows us that we all can make a difference, if we try. We just have to take that step.