Purpose: This year, I am dedicating my triathlon training and racing by bringing awareness to the global refugee crisis and raising money for One Refugee Child.
Situation: The March 2016 UNHCR report on the region states 53% of registered refugees are under 17 years old. These children are especially at risk of illness, exploitation and death due to the traumatic and often lawlessness nature of their journey.
While major NGOs are providing key survival needs (shelter, food, clothing, basic care) to the majority of these refugees, the volume of people are overwhelming the traditional methods of providing for refugees. Subsequently, volunteers are taking the lead in providing care in overflow pocket camps particularly in Turkey and Greece and other select countries.
One Refugee Child assists in two areas as a result of this dynamic:
1.) To deliver specific items that provide comfort and a sense of hope to children and
2.) To supplement the work of the larger NGOs and filling in where supplies are limited
Fundraising Goal: USD$5,000
I welcome you to join me in this crazy journey as mom of four under six triathlon training and racing to raise awareness. Follow me on Twitter (@FootprintIQ) and Instagram (mongarrido) or by contributing to One Refugee Child general fund below. Want to join the cause? e-mail me at email@example.com.
Special thanks to my coach Ray Kelly from Tri-Trainer for his guidance and expertise in helping me achieve my goals. Shout out to my fellow inspiring blind triathlete and friend, Amy Dixon, who has taught me that there are no limits (Twitter: @nosightnolimits).
"Nevertheless, she persisted"
In late 2015, while my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, I started One Refugee Child with four other amazing women, all drawn together to help better the lives of refugee children. The time during this pregnancy was profound: my husband and I were miraculously blessed with a baby girl (after three boys and lofty challenges due to my age) AND I had the uplifting privilege of working on starting up a non-profit to better the lives of other children. We heard stories of mothers who had just given birth days before stepping onto a raft to make the treacherous journey from Turkey to Lesvos. We gave strollers to families with young children and baby hygiene kits to newborns in camps. We worked to distribute activity kits to children living in refugee camps yearning for a bit of free childhood play. All of this – while I comfortably awaited the arrival of our baby girl to be delivered in the safe surroundings of a hospital and then to our warm home. It was emotionally difficult to say the least.
In August of 2016 I gave birth to my daughter by c-section. As many women do after giving birth, I found myself in unchartered waters unable to breathe well or move my body as I wanted even though my mind was yelling at me otherwise. Although it seemed overwhelming at times, I knew it was nothing compared to what the refugee mothers and children have gone through. Throughout my recovery, I constantly thought of these mothers, babies and children. I wanted to do so much more to help these children.
As a triathlete dedicating many hours, physical and mental, to the sport, I am often asked why I pursue the sport to such a degree. My answer has varied over the years ranging anywhere from a new challenge, an outlet for stress, the people or just a way to seek clarity on what’s important in my life.
This year, I am dedicating my post-partum recovery and triathlon training and racing by bringing awareness to the refugee crisis by raising money for One Refugee Child. I welcome you to join me in this journey by following me on Facebook, twitter and Instagram or by contributing to One Refugee Child general fund here.