2843kms walked to help victims of trafficking

Frances Chaplow from Mangatarata, Ngatea, walks with children of a friend

by Susan Dickson

The Vietnam-China border is 1445 km long. This border is a known area for human trafficking, as women and children are often trafficked into China to be sold as brides or enter other situations of exploitation.  

Carole Hoult from Upper Hutt (left) and Wellington archdiocesan CWL president Susan Lloyd out and about.

The challenge for a group of Catholic women from Aotearoa New Zealand was to form a group to collectively walk 1445 km during October, with the aim of raising money for Hagar Vietnam, and their transforming work with women who have been trafficked to China or survived other forms of severe abuse.  

The team all had different fitness levels and schedules, but the goal was to travel this significant distance together, raise awareness about those who do travel it, and match our steps with sponsorship dollars.  

Team CWL Hagar 1445 Walking Challenge was made up of 25 Catholic Women’s League members from across the country, and four friends. They ended up smashing this challenge, having collectively walked 2843.37 kilometres, and raising a staggering $7740 between them. The walkers encouraged each other by sharing photos and updates of their progress online and via email.  

All the ladies’ efforts were inspirational. One team member clocked up 430 km, three other members walked over 200 km each, and five women did over 100 km each. Ninety-two-year-old Mary walked 29 km during the first three weeks before a cold kept her indoors. Eighty-nine-year-old Kathryn averaged 2.7km for each of her walks, clocking up an inspirational 70km. She admitted to being a bit tired the following week! 

Walkers CWLANZ national president Susan Dickson (left)
and 89-year-old Kathryn McKendry.

The team was overwhelmed by the amazing support. The donations came from family and friends, with whom the cause and the team’s dedication resonated. With their help, Team CWL 1445 can enable Hagar Vietnam to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable women.  

Hagar NZ sent the following feedback: “(We) [c]annot express to each of you how incredibly meaningful and life changing this money is. We are so grateful.”  

The fighting of human trafficking, abuse and exploitation of women has been a major theme of WUCWO, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations. For some years now, Catholic Women’s League of Aotearoa NZ has been committed to raising awareness of human trafficking, both here in New Zealand and overseas. To find out more about the fight against the trafficking of humans, look up Talitha Kum online using Google. To find out more about the work of Hagar visit www.hagar.org.nz/ 

Susan Dickson is national president of Catholic Women’s League Aotearoa NZ 




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