“Why are we riding? I guess a better question would be: how could we not?”– Daniel, STK Cyclist
In a few short weeks, a group of Seattle locals will be meeting in a parking lot and going for a little bike ride…across the state to Spokane! They have been training for some time now, and with sore rear ends and questionable sanity, they will embark upon this great challenge on June 17th. Included in this group are Daniel and Liz, a local couple with a taste for adventure…and who have never done anything like the 400 mile trip they have planned a couple of weeks. The following is their response to the question: why??
Biking, World Relief, and refugee job training seemed like an offer we couldn’t turn down. During her undergrad, Liz interned with World Relief and worked close to the vulnerability, joy, and confusion that refugees face in their first few months after arrival. She had worked with a lot of different non-profits, but the integrity and humility of everyone at World Relief made an impression. This later inspired both of us to volunteer with World Relief Indonesia as program coordinators at a resource center for asylum seekers [‘asylum’ is the status a person seeks when they first flee their home and before they are granted official “refugee” status].
In Indonesia we helped our students with language classes and job skills for resettlement. As teachers and friends, we worried and wondered what would happen to our students after resettlement. Will there be someone to meet them at the airport? Will they be treated with respect? Vignes wants to open a roti bakery…will he be able to in Australia?
Starting over in a new country can be just as traumatizing as the initial displacement. Supportive communities, language classes, and job training make all the difference. In the past 3 years, we’ve been able to see that many of our friends from our time in Indonesia have resettled in New Zealand and Australia, and we are so thankful for the support that World Relief helped provide. It just makes sense to be supporting the same kind of opportunities in the city we call home
As Daniel and Liz ride this June, they’ll be thinking of their friends who have been resettled around the world…and those that are still waiting. In the meantime, they are raising money to support language and job training for refugees in Washington State. If you would like to help them reach their goal, click here.