Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the EU, Ms Shirley Lam, with the fastest team at the Oxfam Trailwalker.
As one of its initiatives to mark the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s 20th anniversary, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) brought 20 young people from Hong Kong to participate in the 100-kilometre Oxfam Trailwalker challenge in Belgium’s High Fens around Eupen on 26-27 August.
The challenge consists in teams of four walkers having to complete a 100km trek in no more than 30 hours. Although it is now a worldwide event that takes place in nine countries over four continents, the first Trailwalker was first held in Hong Kong in 1981 as a Gurkha training exercise, before it was taken over by Oxfam in 1997.
In view of this special link, HKETO, Brussels was happy to sponsor the event. The 20 young people, all 20 years old, the same age as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, successfully completed the arduous trek, showing the true Hong Kong “can do” spirit. In addition to the five teams of young people, seven Hong Kong adult teams also “Walked the Hong Kong Spirit”, including “Fearless Dragon”, a team of walkers with disabilities.
There was also a shorter VIP walk. The Belgian team that raised the largest sum of money for charity was invited to take part in the Oxfam Trailwalker in Hong Kong on 17-19 November 2017.
During their week-long visit, the group of twenty-year-olds learnt more about Belgium and the EU through a series of briefings on topics ranging from youth policies to climate change. They were taken on guided tours to major sites, including World War I locations and the battlefield of Waterloo. The group also visited a project in Boom near Antwerp, where De Steenschuit offers traineeships to people who have been unemployed for at least one year.
In 2013, it started the construction of a replica of the RV Belgica, a wooden three-mast ship in which famous Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache sailed to the South Pole on an international expedition of discovery in 1897. Once it is completed, the New Belgica will take part in tall ship events and take pride of place in Antwerp’s new Museum for Maritime Heritage, to be opened in the docks in 2023.
The project is supported among others by funds raised at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Antwerp, organised by Rotary Club Antwerp West and supported by HKETO, Brussels.