More than 16’500 CHF was raised for the response of Médecins Sans Frontières in Ukraine by local walkers along the Toblerone Trial in Gland!
Over the weekend of 19th-20th March 2022, 73 local residents (and four dogs) joined together for a fundraising walk along the symbolic Sentier des Toblerones in Gland. Raising 16,500 CHF (as of 25th March) for Médecins Sans Frontières’ unrestricted fund. This money is being used to support their emergency work in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
Participants were a truly international mix of 73 Swiss residents, originally from Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, France, UK, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Argentina, Colombia, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Adults and children of all ages took part, as well as a special mention for the much-adored bulldog Gus. Delighting many along the journey, and generating donations with his very own fundraising page. Particularly impressive also was the performance of eight-year olds, Bastian and Ines, and 10-year old Maya, who walked the full 18km trail, from Bassins to Nyon.
“Our family has been watching the attack on Ukraine with horror for weeks. This walk was a great opportunity to channel our concern into positive action. We walked alongside others in our local community as an act of solidarity with Ukraine, as well as to raise much needed funds. As a bonus, we made new friends along the way.” (Rosa, Eysins)
Why the Sentier des Toblerones?
A local friend of the organisers suggested the hiking trail would be symbolic, as it follows a defensive line of concrete triangular tank traps set up in the second world war between the Jura peaks and Lake Geneva. Walking along this reminder of war, the group would think of those that are suffering today.
“The choice of a walk along a fortified anti-tank line meant we had a constant reminder of what is happening in Ukraine, and the heart-breaking destruction being cast down on the people there, partly by tanks like those that would have been impeded by the fortifications.” (Damian, Crans-près-Céligny)
Learn more about the history of the Sentier Route and an interesting Polish-Ukrainian link that was discovered along the way.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for the walk came from a family breakfast table conversation. Parents Elisabeth and Matthew Crudgington from Eysins wanted to know how their children (12 and 8) were coping with the news of the war in Ukraine.
“We asked the children to describe how they were feeling, and unsurprisingly they said they felt sad, angry, anxious and helpless. We knew, then, that we all needed to do something that would both be a contribution to the cause AND that would help us all manage our own emotions… something good for the soul. For our family, that means getting out into nature and walking together – and what better thing to do in solidarity with the refugees walking long distances to find safety!? So we decided to combine walking and taking time out to reflect with raising a little money to help the people of Ukraine.”
One week later the idea for a walk along Sentier des Toblerones came about and they set up a JustGiving fundraising page
“We thought a few local friends might join in. We didn’t expect to be more than 70! We were blown away….beyond anything we could have imagined when we first spoke about a walk at the breakfast table!”
Future projects: Children’s books to enhance compassion as refugee children integrate into schools
The Crudgington family said they may well consider organising more walks in the future along other routes. They also are thinking about how to help refugees integrate into the local area – especially refugee children entering the local schools.
As a start, they are putting together a list of children’s books that can help children and their parents reflect, discuss, and enhance compassion and empathy for refugee families. Two recommendations thus far:
- ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ by Onjali Q. Rauf.
- ‘My Name is Not Refugee’ by Kate Milner.
Do you have children’s book recommendations? If so, please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not too late to donate…
More information on the MSF response here and if you would like to donate, please visit the fundraising page and donate funds for MSF here.