Walking 40 kilometres during Ramadan proved an enormous challenge for Business Administration and Law student Mostafa Sadiqi. But he succeeded nonetheless in completing the Night of the Refugee route last weekend, and in doing so, in raising 725 Euros for the Refugee Foundation Netherlands (Stichting Vluchteling).

Sadiqi joined the ‘Erasmus United’ team, comprising four walkers from the multi-cultural ARIA Students and Avicenna student associations. During the night of 18-19 June they walked from Rotterdam to The Hague.

Sadiqi sees the walk primarily as a way of getting social problems talked about. “People are often reticent about discussing the refugee crisis, but if you tell them you’re going to walk on their behalf, suddenly they’re interested.”

‘Afraid I would have to stop’

Sadiqi was apprehensive about the walk. “As I was in the middle of Ramadan, I could eat and drink until three o’clock in the morning, but not for the remaining seven hours of the walk”, he explains. “I was a little apprehensive in the run up to it that I would have to stop due to hunger pains and muscle cramps, but luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Apart from a few blisters and muscle ache, I managed really well. Being able to participate during Ramadan made it extra special, as helping others is a key element of this period of fasting.”

‘An impressive light parade’

Three staff members from Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) joined the walk too. Their team, the ‘RSM Innovators’ raised 730 Euros. “We first got involved with the Night of the Refugee when we used its sponsor network as an example for the ‘Network for Innovation’ masters”, coordinator Sandra Langeveld explains. “It was then when we became aware of the great work this organisation undertakes, in helping refugees all across the globe, rather than just in Syria.”

Langeveld and her colleague Dirk Deichmann found it heavy going though. “I hadn’t trained, nor did I have any appropriate sportswear”, says Deichmann. Despite this they enjoyed it. Langeveld: “It’s fantastic to see so many people making an effort for a good cause. We also walked through glorious countryside, parks and woods. The pitch-black Kralingse Bos was particularly beautiful. Many walkers had bicycle lights for extra safety, which created an impressive light parade.”

This year’s Night of the Refugee was the seventh one to run during the night of 18-19 June. The night’s proceeds will go to the Refugee Foundation Netherlands, which among other things, finances clean water, blankets and food for refugees. In total the participants raised in excess of 1 million Euros. There was also the option for participants to walk from Nijmegen to Arnhem.

Nacht van de vluchteling (004)
Paul Wiegmann, Dirk Deichmann and Sandra Langeveld (from left to right) pose proudly at the finish line Image credit: Sandra Langeveld