Why go through the challenge?

We hope to inspire you to make a donation or sponsor a pilgrim so that we can resource a much-needed sensory room and garden for Autistic and Downs syndrome children in Agrupamento Escolas Silves Sul. The children need a calm, safe haven to enable them to benefit fully from their time in school.

You can see from Philippe’s bio that he is not new to the Camino having walked from France to Santiago some years ago with his family. He has also walked our route along with wife Carmen in June in preparation for the main event in just over three weeks’ time. His meticulous preparation and encouragement are all part of the support in place for those in the group who are older and carrying more injuries or health issues.

First: Philippe, mid 60s

I am a new Rotary member. I retired, a couple of years ago, from an international career, mainly in Operations leadership roles. My focus was always been around developing a meaningful purpose and rallying groups to achieve their goals through intensive teamwork.

I have never stopped practicing physical activities: running 2-3 times / week until my mid 50’s and during the last 10 years, walking on a daily basis. Some heart issues required the placement of a stent and a heart ablation was needed to eliminate arrhythmia.

Why I became a pilgrim?

Our family (spouse and two children) always loved nature and hiking. We have completed the French Camino de Santiago in 5 stages, over 5 years’ vacations. This Portuguese Camino project addresses several personal objectives: a noble purpose to help disabled children, teamwork to support each participant to make it to Santiago, physical exercise and enjoyment of the beautiful nature and landscapes.

Team Member: Petra Vahle-Francis, Mid sixties

Having spent over 30 years performing classical music day and night, I was curious to learn something new. Curiosity drove me to the World Peace Academy at University of Basel, where I graduated with a diploma in Peace and Conflict Transformation, followed by a professional development diploma in conflict resolution from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Together with my husband, I founded the “Corridors of Peace” Organisation in Switzerland, catering for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and all those living on the margins in different societies, home and abroad.

Luckily no major health issues yet, but I had a serious fall causing dental replacement some 5 years ago. Definitely not as good as I used to be; with transition comes great challenges: in moving from Switzerland to the beautiful Algarve, I have not found a solid rhythm yet, but I will get there soon.

Why I became a pilgrim?

Since 2002 I have wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela but could not find the right time, group or persons to walk with. On a visit to Silves Rotary Club here in the Algarve, I was lucky to experience an inspiring lecture by Philippe Pfister, who has prepared all the logistics and background information for clubs Camino de Santiago de Compostela walk, to raise funds for children with learning difficulties. I feel it is a golden opportunity to walk with people of similar sensibilities. I am grateful to join this noble rotary project.

You can kindly donate at GoFundMe.com via our page “Help Pilgrims Change Kids Lives” or via www.silvesrotaryclub.org.