Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson of Edmonton plans to ride across Ethiopia every year until he raises $1 million. The goal is to bring clean drinking water to remote villages through the HOPE International Development Agency.
Hansen-Carlson got involved first by contributing financially to the HOPE. Then last year when he was traveling to Ethiopia he experienced the dire situation first hand and an idea occurred to him. As an individual passionate about HOPE’s work and adventure cycling, he decided he wanted to contribute to bringing communities safe drinking water. One Wednesday, January 11 he will depart from the countries capital and ride 800 km through the southern part of the country.
Hansen-Carlson will be accompanied by Jeff Buhr who will document the trip. The pair have already raised $70,000 but say the ultimate goal is much more ambitious. “A million dollars will literally change thousands of lives forever,” Hansen-Carlson said to CTV.
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“We talk about water and sick kids and dying kids and that’s a very in your face way to understand the issue but when you continue the discussion you realize that having access to clean water doesn’t just improve quality of life for the kids but it empowers women,” Hansen-Carlson told CTV News. “Culturally it’s the women’s job to fetch the water and up in these mountains and it takes them all day. It’s their entire existence so if they don’t have to do that anymore, suddenly you can take half the population and empower them. You can teach them how to start little businesses, make money and that’s kind of the sustainable social change piece we don’t talk about.”
The funds raised will go to projects in the Bonke Woreda region which is one of the deadliest regions of the world for children where less than half the population has access to clean drinking water. The We Ride Africa website says, “Every dollar we raise will be used to build water infrastructure that will carry the clean, life-giving water down from the hills and into the villages.”
The ride will take them through the villages and regions which they hope will be directly impacted by the funds they raise. The ambitious target is the amount they believe is needed to bring meaningful impacts to the region.
“The goal is to raise money for these projects. We have pledged a million dolars so we are going to go every year and ride across Ethiopia until we achieve that,” Hansen-Carlson said.
Those wishing to contribute to the ride can visit werideafrica.com. For those interested in getting more involved, you can join the ride in future years. To do so, you must commit to raising $25,000.