“68 million refugees...and each one has a name.”International Teams Canada
On October 3, 2009, over a dozen cities across Canada are gearing-up (pun intended) for the 6th Annual Ride for Refugees through International Teams Canada. The Ride is a cycling event for everyone (no racing experience necessary!) and aims to raise awareness and support for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), both abroad and in Canada.
Millions of people around the world are forced to live away from their homes, often in very poor conditions, due to war, violence, political oppression, and discrimination. International Teams Canada estimates that there are almost 70 million refugees and IDPs around the world.
Hundreds of thousands live in overcrowded camps, often with poor access to water and other necessities and/or vulnerable to attack from various militias and armed groups. Others are struggling to make a new life for themselves in a foreign country, often facing language and cultural barriers that can diminish opportunities. Most struggle with poverty and finding the basic necessities of life.
This is where we can come in. Individuals and teams are invited to register online, join the ride, and help raise money. Distances range from 10 to 100 kilometres. Half of the proceeds will go to International Teams Canada, which is a coalition of several international and domestic refugee relief organizations. The other half will go to a charity or cause of personal choice.
I will be joining a team on October 3rd in Ottawa for the 50 km event. My team decided to support a young man who recently came to Canada from East Africa. His family remains in a refugee camp, after fleeing their homes over fifteen years ago. Our support will help this young man in the long process of bringing his family to Canada, and helping to support them during their transition to life in Canada.
Ride for Refugees is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference in the lives of refugees and IDPs. Register a team, sponsor a friend, or volunteer. Check out the website to find a ride near you and have fun!