Australia. City2surf 2023 Angela and Sam
© Australia for UNHCR
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Running in the family: A mother-son team raise funds for refugees

“I found out that so many children were living in terrible conditions, and I really wanted to help them.”

More than 100 people joined Team UNHCR in this year’s City2Surf race, raising over $22,000 to provide refugees in crisis situations with shelter and protection.

Angela Moles and her 13-year-old son, Sam Bonser, have now participated in the Sydney race for six years in a row, combining their love of running with fundraising for refugees. We talked to them about their unique journey. 

When did you both start running? What’s the best and worst thing about running?

Angela: I started running when I was a kid, but I stopped for a while when I had my children. The worst thing about running is getting started. The best thing about running is the stuff you see along the way; the other day I ran past a racecourse and saw a horse running on a treadmill!

Sam: I started running with Mum when I was six. The best thing about running is the sense of achievement you get after a good training session or run. The worst thing about running is the pain you get near the end.

How long have you been running in the City2Surf? Why did you choose this event?

Angela: We have been running the City2Surf together since 2018, when Sam was eight. The distance seemed like a good challenge. The first time we ran, I had to hold Sam’s hand most of the way. Now I can’t keep up with him at all! We had a blast running it again this year.

Sam: I really like to do these kinds of races. This year I ran a personal best so I’m getting faster. And helping raise money for UNHCR was an extra motivation.

Why did you decide to fundraise for refugees? 

Angela: I felt like the City2Surf was a chance to not only meet some personal goals, but also to do some good and have Sam learn about important causes. I gave Sam a shortlist of three charities, explained a bit about each, and let him choose. He chose UNHCR because he was appalled at the idea of children being displaced from home and having to live in a refugee camp, and he really wanted to help those kids.

Sam: I found out that so many children were living in terrible conditions in refugee camps and I really wanted to help them. I just want to make life better for them.

Australia. City2Surf Sam Bonser Training
© Supplied
Sam Bonser training for City2Surf

Do you have any fundraising tips?

Angela: Post and re-post on social media, and don’t be afraid to ask people directly (emails or in person) – remember, you are asking for UNHCR, so there’s no need to be embarrassed! 

Why do you think Australians should support refugees and displaced people?

Angela: Even a small donation can make a huge difference to someone’s quality of life.

Sam: I think ignorance towards this cause can only lead to conditions for refugees getting worse. It’s really worthwhile donating your money to UNHCR – it will really help people out.

Australia. 2023 City2surf
© Australia for UNHCR
Team UNHCR runners raised over $22,000 for refugees in this year’s City2Surf.

Are you interested in fundraising for us and supporting refugees and displaced people around the world?

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Our fundraising commitment

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

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