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Green Kordofan charity for Sudanese refugees plans pilgrimage from Folkestone to Canterbury Cathedral with actress Jessica Hynes

A Folkestone-based charity is organising a pilgrimage for Sudanese children from the town to Canterbury Cathedral, to raise funds for the displaced refugees of Yida Camp in South Sudan.

Green Kordofan was established to support child refugees who have suffered from the decades-long Sudanese conflict.

The Green Kordafan container arrives at the camp in the Sudan
The Green Kordafan container arrives at the camp in the Sudan

The charity will start its pilgrimage from Martello 3, on Saturday, May 22, breaking the journey at Elham, before arriving at Canterbury Cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday, May 23.

Raga Ibreel, the founder and director of Green Kordofan, said: "We are hoping that the Dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis, will welcome us to the cathedral at the end of our 22-mile walk.

Among supporters taking part will be the actress Jessica Hynes, who lives in Folkestone. Her movie credits include Swallows and Amazons, Paddington 2, and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason.

Her friendship with Miss Ibreel began after chatting on London-bound trains, and was cemented over the death of a mutual friend in June 2020.

She said: “Raga and I walked and swam to raise money in 2020, and this year we are walking in a group from Folkestone to Canterbury Cathedral."

Actress Jessica Hynes will be on the Green Kordofan pilgrimage
Actress Jessica Hynes will be on the Green Kordofan pilgrimage

She said: "We walk together to support the incredibly positive effect that Green Kordofan has on its community at Yida Camp, employing co-ordinators, buying kits and creating facilities so a generation of young people in South Sudan can experience the joy, education and belonging that being in a supported team can bring!”

Since June 2011, renewed violence in Sudan has created hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees from the Nuba Mountains.

More than 70,000 of them took refuge in Yida.

The vast majority of people now living in refugee camps in Yida are children.

Miss Ibreel said: "We currently have five employees at the camp, but within five years I want to have 10 full-time employees and 50 volunteers, with internships providing mentoring.

"We need to create a wholesome network of support and advice for girls and boys, as many of them have been mentally and physically traumatised by the effects of war.”

A Green Kordfan bike rally in the Sudan
A Green Kordfan bike rally in the Sudan

Green Kordofan has been working with the refugees on the ground to engage them in sport such as football and netball, and Halfords in Folkestone has donated a number of bicycles to the camp.

The charity is in the process of improving its service at Yida Camp with the introduction of a huge container from Holland which will be a multi-purpose facility for an office, storage, education and as a new community hub.

Mr Ibreel said: "We have received £2,000 from the Tinsley Charitable Trust and £500 from the Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group which will go towards the conversion of the container, including electricity.

“But we are inviting anyone who wants to join us on the Pilgrimage to Canterbury to help us complete this work, and also contribute towards a second shipping container to improve the much-needed facilities further.”

For further information about the pilgrimage and to register, email Raga at: greenkordofan@gmail.com

Further information about the charity’s work can be found here.

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