07 Jun, 2018
10 : 00
On 1st June Steve Hackman, Head of Christian and Community Development at the Yew Chung Education Foundation, set off on a 2,000km, two-and-a-half-month long walk. He has received much coverage for his intrepid journey, including from the South China Morning Post who interviewed Mr Hackman before he set off.
Mr Hackman is walking the Via Francigena – an ancient route trodden by many thousands of Christian pilgrims from Canterbury Cathedral in England to St Peter’s Square, the Vatican. In doing the walk, Mr Hackman hopes to raise awareness of our YCIS charitable foundation Seeds of Hope, and raise funds for our current project with Kids International Ministries to build a secondary school in Manila.
Mr Hackman is a self-confessed “walk-aholic”, but it has not always been the case. He did his first major walk just three years ago with his 14-year old son Gabriel; a 300km walk from the West to the East coast of England. “Before then I was a couch potato, not a hiker,” he told the South China Morning Post, but “the Coast to Coast walk with my son was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and made me realise long-distance walking would always be part of me.”
Since then, he has been somewhat unstoppable. It took him a month to complete the 800km Camino de Santiago – a historic hike across Spain that is also known as The Way of St James. He walked it for a second time last year with his wife, six-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter:
“When you hit the highest point – the Cruz de Ferro – you see an iron cross. For thousands of years people have been laying stones there – a metaphor for their burdens. So you take a stone from your home country – my son and I took stones from Ma Wan Beach on Park Island where we live – and we left them on the mound with the other stones. It was an extremely spiritual moment.”
The Via Francigena will be arduous at times, especially in the height of the European summer, but it takes a path through some of Europe’s most outstanding natural landscapes and ancient towns. After crossing the English county of Kent Mr Hackman will take a ferry to France where he will walk south through the wine-making region of Champagne towards Switzerland. He will traverse the Swiss Alps via St. Bernards Pass, and head for Rome through Tuscany. Mr Hackman expects to complete this extraordinary and historically significant journey around the 10th of August, when he will arrive at the Vatican City.
Mr Casey Fanning, Character and Moral Education Development Officer at YCIS Beijing commented “Steve’s walk is a fantastic project. Its physical and mental highs and lows represent the seasonal journeys we undergo in life. It makes us appreciate what we have (communitive, monetary or other), and drives us to welcome others not as fortunate into our experience.”
Mr Hackman is hoping to raise his target of $30,000 USD for Kids International Ministries. Please click here to visit his Simply Giving page and donate to the cause.