A British woman is spending two-and-a-half years cycling across Canada to raise awareness for an international charity that’s close to her heart.
Tana Silverland set off from Whitehorse, Yukon, 10 months ago, heading for Newfoundland, and making plenty of stops along the way to spread the word about SOS Children’s Villages. The organization’s work focuses on abandoned, destitute and orphaned children requiring family-based child care. It is the world’s largest charity for orphaned and abandoned children.
“I don’t want to raise funds, just awareness,” said Tana. “Hopefully a few people will sit up and take notice and maybe go to the website and sponsor a child.”
Tana stopped in Fernie on Sunday night, where she was given a place to sleep by Randal Macnair and his family.
“I rely on the kindness of strangers to house me and feed me on my journey,” said Tana. “People have been absolutely wonderful.”
She said she wants to raise money for SOS Children’s Villages to help orphans who otherwise wouldn’t feel loved.
“Throughout it’s history, they’ve tried to provide a family for the orphans,” Tana said. “Rather than building big orphanages, they build a family home. They have a mother figure, which I think is so important. When I think about growing up, I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like without my Mom.”
Tana is from just outside Manchester in England, but when she obtained permanent residence in Canada, she headed over to make the journey.
She travels around 100 km a day on a three-wheeled trike, named Ranger.
She said she is out to raise awareness, but not necessarily funding. “I’m deliberately not keeping score,” she said. “This trip isn’t about me.
“So far, the response has been outstanding. Huge numbers of people have never even heard of the charity before, so I know I’m having a positive effect.”
For more information visit www.childrensvillages.ca or check out Tana’s blog – tanasilverland.wordpress.com.