Walking for Ukraine: A Journey of Hope and Solidarity 

UK for UNHCR supporter, Indy, embarked on a 100-mile journey to raise vital funds to support Ukrainian refugees


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Ever since the war in Ukraine began, I wanted to do something – anything – to help.

Last August, I decided it was time to take action.

With the ancient Ridgeway track stretching out before me, nearly 100 miles of history and rugged terrain, I embarked on a journey to raise funds for UK for UNHCR’s Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

I wanted to raise as much money as I possibly could to help and put the war and its catastrophic human impact back into the forefront of peoples’ minds.

Each step was a pledge of solidarity

The wild prehistoric route, which is thousands of years old, marches along high ground across the centre of England. It begins in the neolithic chalk landscapes of Avebury, Wiltshire, and ends at Ivinghoe Beacon, an ancient signal point high in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire.

For three weeks, I walked every single day, rain or shine, in preparation. Each step was a pledge of solidarity.

It was a small gesture compared to the hardships faced by refugees who can’t choose when or how they flee. They can’t take a day off, they can’t choose to temporarily opt our of their situation.

I carried the Ukrainian flag with me and photographed it on every walk, held high in the changing landscapes. I wanted to root our support deep into the very land itself – linking the UK and Ukraine together on a profound level.

One person can make a big difference

One evening, when the sun was setting on the Wessex Downs, near the Bronze-age hillfort of Liddington, we came across a beautiful sunflower field high on the hill path. It was a such an extraordinary sight to see the national flower of Ukraine and it felt so symbolic, so meaningful and moving – a sign to keep going, that I was doing the right thing.

Indy walked 100 miles to raise vital funds to support UNHCR’s work in Ukraine.

We tracked an imaginary refugee family’s walk from Kyiv – matching my daily distance. I mapped the route as best I could, from The National Aviation University in Kyiv to the city of Zhytomyr. It really brought home to me how massive the distances can be for people escaping war, when transport networks are damaged and the next bombing target, the next massacre, is unpredictable.

Arriving at Ivinghoe Beacon was a moment of triumph. I couldn’t really believe that I had finally reached the end. It felt amazing. But I also felt that I wanted to do more – that I didn’t want this to be the end or one-off. I didn’t want to draw a line under my fundraising – so I immediately started to think about another long-distance walk to raise more money.

I want to inspire other people to fundraise – to show that just one person can make a big difference, can save lives. That our concern helps refugees feel seen, cared for and welcomed.

To anyone considering fundraising, my main advice is don’t give up – just keep going.

If you were inspired by Indy’s story and would like to do your own fundraiser in aid of refugees, please visit our website here.

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