For the sixth consecutive year, riders under the banner of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) hopped on their bikes and rode up to 50 km to support victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
The latest Ride for Refuge took place Oct. 5. PWRDF, which has participated since 2014, raised $18,498 for Maison Dorcas, part of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ride for Refuge is a non-competitive cycling and walking event that takes place annually in cities across Canada. There are 10 km, 25 km or 50 km routes for cyclists and 5 km walking routes for those who want to participate on foot. Funds raised go towards charities chosen by participating teams in Canada and around the world.
This year, 37 participants rode for PWRDF in six teams in multiple cities—Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Brampton. There were also some “RIDE Anywhere” participants (individuals without teams, in cities with no official Ride for Refuge event).
The Panzi Hospital, according to Jeanine Cudmore, PWRDF development program coordinator, was founded in 1999 by Dr. Denis Mukwege “as a response to the devastating war that surrounded his community” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The hospital provides medical care for women and girls who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, in an area that still experiences armed conflict. Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 2018.
Maison Dorcas was started in 2008, following realizations that up to 40% to 60% of women treated at Panzi Hospital are unable to return home afterwards—whether because of the extent of their injuries, continuing danger or stigma attached to victims of sexual violence. The safe home provides housing, meals and access to therapeutic care to victims of sexual violence and their dependent children. The program also offers training in literacy, business, job skills and micro-lending to help the women launch micro-enterprises.
Peter Goodwin, PWRDF representative for the diocese of New Westminster, has organized PWRDF’s Vancouver ride team since 2014. “There was a call out to the diocesan reps to try and get teams going in their area. When I saw…they’ve got teams going in Hamilton and Toronto, I said, ‘We’ve gotta get one going out here!’”
Goodwin says he is inspired by the chance to raise money for a good cause, as well as the camaraderie the ride creates. “It’s amazing, you see the same people, once a year…. You ride with your fellow Anglicans for the cause, and it’s just a great experience all around.”
The event also allows PWRDF to raise money for partner organizations without taking on any of the logistic and administrative costs, which are managed through Ride for Refuge.
Around eight or nine people joined the PWRDF Vancouver team this year and raised more than $6,000, Goodwin says.
Ride for Refuge has raised more than $12 million since its founding in 2004, according to the organization’s corporate social responsibility and development associate, Liam Good. This year, rides were held in 22 cities across Canada, in addition to sites chosen by independent “RIDE Anywhere” teams, with more than 6,500 participants.