In July 2017, we will swim across the Channel in relay. The swim across the Channel starts and ends on the shore, starting on the coast of England and ending on the coast of France. From Dover to Calais, there are more than 35 km (approx. 22 miles) to be swam, in turbulent waters whose temperature is not expected to be above 18°C. One team member will be in the water at any given time; and we will switch swimmers every hour.
This physical and mental challenge is associated to a charity association know as Refugees Welcome, which is committed to supporting refugees and migrants arriving in Belgium, facilitating and enabling their hosting and long-term integration.
Since 1927, the challenge of crossing the Channel is regulated and overseen by the Channel Swimming Association (C.S.A.).
Strict rules apply in order to reproduce the conditions in which Matthem Webb performed the crossing for the first time in 1875:
As of 2014, it is estimated that almost 60 million people have fled their countries because of persecution, armed conflicts, widespread violence or violations of human rights.
A minority of them manage to reach Europe where they can submit a request for asylum, as specified by the 1951 Geneva refugee convention. These migrants sometimes arrive in Belgium after a long ordeal, often risking their lives, health and integrity.
Our country is however not fully ready to host these people. As a consequence, hundreds of asylum candidates arriving in Belgium end up without shelter nor administrative assistance, waiting to be received by the Foreigners' Office of Belgium.
To address this issue, the association Refugees Welcome supports migrants arriving in Belgium and is currently engaged in various long-term integration initiatives specifically on the Belgian territory and in Brussels.
In order to support the association, we aim at collecting an amount of EUR 20,000. This amount will make it possible to purchase school and teaching material for children and adults, and pay for the translation of administrative documents or even DNA tests, which are typically required to prove family links between parents and children.
PhD student, materials chemistry
Information security engineer
Law student (ULB)
PhD student, tropical forestry (ULB-UGent)
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