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Kriss Soord victoriously waving the Karen flag at the end of his walk in Dwellingup.

Trek against tragedy

By Melissa Sheil

A FORRESTFIELD local spent the beginning of this month trekking more than 200kms in an effort to raise the profile of an international tragedy.

From October 1 to 7, Kriss Soord hiked the Bibbulmun Track from Kalamunda to Dwellingup to fundraise for the Pink Jade Educational Fund, a not-for-profit that provides education, housing, food, clothes, aid and opportunity to children of the Karen ethnic minority in Myanmar (Burma).

Mr Soord, who is Anglo-Burmese, said the Karen people have faced ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war for the better part of 70 years.

“The civil war the Burmese military have set on the Karen people is the longest running civil war in the world and almost no one knows about it,” he said.

“The Karen are such a beautiful people and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to see them suffering.

“The issue is shoved in a corner and I want to spread awareness – if democracy is in trouble somewhere, it’s in trouble everywhere.”

Mr Soord said his family in Myanmar are under constant threat since a military coup heightened the conflict earlier this year.

He decided on walking the Bibbulmun track to represent the two-hour trek kindergarten-aged Karen children took to reach a Pink Jade school every day.

“Some days I was walking 12 hours, sunsore with blisters on my feet, but every time I felt like giving up I pushed through that pain barrier to think about why I was doing it,” he said.

His original goal of $500 has been surpassed several times over, with the amount raised now more than $6500 and counting.

“There’s not a lot I can do with COVID, only protest or fundraise so I’ve been feeling a bit helpless but hopefully this makes a difference,” he said.

Visit www.gofundme.com/f/trek-against-tragedypjef-charity-fundraiser?

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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