Refugee crisis: One-mile challenge

Refugee crisis: One-mile challenge | World Vision Blog

The World Vision USA social media team after completing the One Mile Challenge. (Photo: Sheryl Watkins/World Vision)

Can you imagine what it's like to be a refugee? To leave your home, carrying your only possessions, and travel on foot to a new land?

Maybe you don't have to only imagine it. The One Mile Challenge gives you a glimpse as you walk a mile in a refugee's shoes while raising awareness and much-needed funding for relief.

Learn more about how you can get involved.


About two months ago, the Syrian Refugee Crisis became every media outlet’s top story due to the tragic photos of a Syrian toddler on the coast of Turkey. Around that time, I found myself with a few of my close girlfriends and we were talking about how we felt so useless sitting in our safe, cozy homes with our children safely playing on the floor next to us. We wanted to do something to try to make a real difference.

Together, we decided that we were tired of just sitting and talking; it was time for us to take action.

That moment led us to what has now become the #OneMileChallenge. To do the #onemilechallenge you must walk one mile with an added challenge. For example, I encourage all moms of babies and toddlers to walk a mile carrying their little one, just as many Syrian mothers have to do to get their family to safe ground. If you don’t have a small child to carry, try carrying a 20-pound bag of potatoes, a heavy backpack, even your dog! Do the one mile barefoot, in the dark, up a long steep hill, or with an elderly relative. For some people, just walking the one mile might be a challenge itself, and that’s okay! The point is to be challenged. 

Imagine what life might be like for the millions of refugees struggling to get to safe land.

Refugee crisis: One-mile challenge | World Vision Blog
This Tweet from the CEO of World Vision Canada, Michael Messenger, is the perfect illustration of what this challenge aims to show.


Once the challenge is completed, make a short video where you challenge three friends to do the same, explain what you did, and most importantly describe how it felt. If any of your friends choose not to do it, then they can donate to it here, or even better share a video and donate! The donations will go to World Vision’s Syria Crisis funds.

I did the challenge three times myself. It wasn’t until the third time, the time I did it alone, just me and my little girl, that the cause really hit home. I spent the mile reflecting on why this cause has become so important to me. Out of all the causes and charities that need support in this world, why has this one struck such a chord?

Well, about a half mile in, I began thinking about when I gave birth to my daughter. I had serious complications during childbirth that caused me to fall ill and be in the hospital for a while. During that time, I felt so lonely and afraid. I often thought that if/when I recovered I wanted to find a way to help other moms who feel lonely and scared to feel less so. That’s when it hit me, right at that moment: that this is exactly what I’m doing. This is why this cause has weighed so heavily on my heart. I have been called to send support and love to these mothers and children in such great need.

Just a few weeks after creating our campaign, we created a Facebook group that currently has over 1,000 members, had dozens of videos and photos of challenges shared (even one from Singapore!), created a large Instagram following, and raised over $1,400 for World Vision and the Syrian Refugees. Most importantly we have spread awareness on what is happening in Syria.

Refugee crisis: One-mile challenge | World Vision Blog
Refugee families walk along train tracks from Serbia into Hungary. (Photo: 2015 Jo Currie / World Vision)


The Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of this century, and not enough people are talking about it. Of the 12 million Syrians affected, half are children. HALF. Many are now facing an uncertain future in crowded refugee camps where hope is hard to come by. Worldwide, nearly 60 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. These people need our help. The money donated will go toward providing food, clean water, emergency supplies, access to basic healthcare and education, and child-friendly spaces where children can play safely.

Doing the One Mile Challenge not only gives you a bit of understanding and insight into what the refugees experience, but sharing the video and challenging friends spreads awareness and will help raise funds to support the Syrian refugees. Our goal is to inspire you to help those who are suffering and struggling so much more than just one challenging mile.

We would love for you to spread the #onemilechallenge! Tell your friends, share this post, visit the fundraising pageFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram and help get the message out however your can!

Together, we can make a huge difference!

Learn more about how you can be a part of World Vision's Refugee Response Initiative.


    It's amazing what you came up with. It's a very good initiative and more people will (hopefully) have a little more acknowledgement about the problem.
    Keep up the good work!

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