Hackney woman journeys 300 miles in a month for refugees

Maddie Waktare, 26, covered 299 miles last month as part of a British Red Cross challenge.

Maddie Waktare, 26, covered 299 miles last month as part of a British Red Cross challenge. - Credit: Maddie Waktare

A Hackney woman ran, walked, cycled and swam almost 300 miles in September, to raise money and awareness for refugees and the life-risking journeys many take. 

Hackney resident Maddie Waktare, 26, covered 299 miles as part of the British Red Cross' Miles for Refugees challenge, which is the equivalent of a journey from Paris to London.

She and others across the country were racking up mileage last month to highlight the harrowing journeys many refugees are forced to make in search of safety. 

Maddie, who works in the PR team at the British Red Cross, said she took on the challenge to show she welcomes refugees.

“I think refugees and asylum seekers are at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment because of the situation in Afghanistan but displacement is happening around the world."


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The 26-year-old says combining several disciplines was a challenge and an opportunity to reflect.

Maddie having a swim in Hackney. 

Maddie having a swim in Hackney. - Credit: Maddie Waktare

She added: "So many people in the world aren’t as fortunate as me and have to make incredibly painful and difficult journeys, with nowhere warm and secure to come back to."

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Maddie also said the challenge gave her a chance to connect more closely with Hackney, where she has lived for three years. 

Adding: “I’ve discovered some wonderful running and cycling routes and swimming spots, like the West Reservoir, and I’ve been going out cycling with no destination in mind, just wheeling down different streets and finding places I didn’t know existed. I’ve loved it.” 

Maddie has raised £830 for the British Red Cross so far. 

The money raised will go towards the charity’s work supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK.  

Maddie Waktare also cycled to raise money and awareness for refugees. 

Maddie Waktare also cycled to raise money and awareness for refugees. - Credit: Maddie Waktare

Currently, the British Red Cross is helping hundreds of Afghan families who have recently arrived in the UK through the government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Hackney is preparing to welcome five families and in August the government has also announced the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which will provide 20,000 places for Afghans to live in the UK, over the coming three years.

To sponsor Maddie visit miles.redcross.org.uk/fundraising/Milesforrefugees21-MaddieWaktare or sign the British Red Cross pledge to say that every refugee matters at everyrefugeematters.redcross.org.uk 

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