Listen: Nick Bennett talks to Abby Bishop about the refugee crisis and the cycling event.
As the number of refugees spirals towards 20 million globally, Sydneysiders are being called to dust off their bikes and join in the Ride For Refugees.
Everyone from competitive cyclists, to families with littlies, are invited to join the event, on Saturday, August 29, at Sydney International Equestrian Centre in Horsley Park.
Riders can choose from a range of courses – including a 3km course for children, 25km, 50km, and a 100km ride for serious, experienced cyclists.
The event, organised by the compassion-evangelism organisation International Teams, will raise awareness and funds for projects supporting refugees worldwide.
The Most Displaced People Since World War II
More than half of the world’s 20 million refugees are children according to the UNHCR, and around 10 million are from three countries alone – Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
As well as the 20 million refugees who have fled their own nation, there are also 38.2 million “internally displaced people” – those made homeless by persecution yet still living in their own country.
This adds up to the highest number of displaced people since World War II.
It’s Not Hard To Make A Difference
Ride For Refugees director Abby Bishop said while the figures are overwhelming, individuals can make a very real difference.
“The Ride is an event that helps people dip their toe into this massive issue and begin engaging with what God’s heart is for refugees,” she said.
“We all need to think about it. Why not share what we have? We are blessed with so much and it almost seems selfish to keep it to ourselves.”
Abby also encouraged people to get involved in the life of refugees in their local area.
“One of the easiest things is to get alongside them and be there and meet the immediate need,” she said. “Be the listening ear or the friendly face that says “you’re welcome here, I will help you along this journey.”
UNHCR Criticises Closed-Door Nations
The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, recently criticised nations that actively deter refugees.
“Some of the countries most able to help are shutting their gates to people seeking asylum,” he said.
“Borders are closing, pushbacks are increasing, and hostility is rising. Avenues for legitimate escape are fading away.
“Global powers have become either passive observers or distant players in the conflicts driving so many innocent civilians from their homes.”
- Ride For Refugees is on Saturday, August 29, 2015 at Sydney Equestrian Centre in Horsley Park. The day includes a jumping castle and facepainting for littlies.
- Get involved by sponsoring a rider or donating to the refugee work of International Teams.