A 75-mile bike ride for peace in Ukraine

Hi, I'm Anita Tamang. Since I was little, I dreamed of going to school. I am so grateful for the people who have helped me get to where I am today, and in honor of their support I would like to “pay it forward.” I have decided to ride my bike from Rochester, Minnesota to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa to advocate for peace in Ukraine before I graduate. This will be my first attempt, and I want to challenge myself by riding 75 miles to promote peace in Ukraine. Will you join me?
Why does this matter to me, and why should it matter to you?
The loss of life during the war is a crime, especially that of children. We must work together to end this war (or any war) as no single person, nation, or organization can end this war on its own. Thus, I am calling on everyone to contribute in whatever way you can, and for those still questioning I would like to ask you: has your college degree given you a voice to speak up against injustice in the world?
How will the funding get spent?
Funds will be donated to the Oncology Clinic in Khmelnytskyi and any remaining funds will be donated to the Internally Displaced People with other unmet health needs. Professor Maryna Bazylevych Nading, who is an associate professor of anthropology at Luther College, is from Khmelnytskyi. Prof. Maryna who serves as an advisor to me, and is a Global Health professor who has greatly influenced my life. Raising these funds is one way to demonstrate care and support for others in the Luther College community who have been indirectly or directly affected by the war in Ukraine. The funds will support the purchase of some urgent and essential medicine for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who were forced to flee their hometowns and whose treatment has been hampered by the conflict. As Prof. Maryna has pointed out, most displaced people have nothing with them, and some are literally only with their pajamas and slippers. Also, war does not 'cancel' other aspects of life like giving birth, getting sick, and managing chronic conditions. In addition, people on the move may be physically and mentally traumatized, and their care disrupted. Think about what it would be like if you were in such a situation. We all have a role to play considering the extent of the damage.
Volunteer Center/Medications
Here is a YouTube Video of the volunteer center that provides humanitarian support to IDPs.The hub is manned 24/7 by more than 200 volunteers. The town has already accepted about 26,500 displaced people for permanent residency, and about 125,000 people have stayed at least once on their way to the western border and received support. Prior to the war, there were only 265,000 people in the town of Khmelnytskyi. The center also cooperates with the coordination center at the train station. On average, 35-40 trains pass through the city every day carrying IDPs. Some of them stay and some of them continue on, but all of them receive warm meals and essential supplies during their stop.
The cases of IDPs are also quite varied; some might have chronic illnesses requiring ongoing care, some might have COVID-related health issues requiring special care, some might be about to deliver, some might be with wounds and injuries requiring urgent care, and some might be suffering from anxiety and depression. There are bottlenecks with humanitarian aid that Ukraine is receiving, and often it is difficult to find medications and resources. We all hope it will improve and people who have come to relative safety within Ukraine’s borders, will also have their needs met, but for now - it is not always the case. They need essentials, they need meds, they need food. Therefore, we dedicate funds we collect to address "bottleneck" issues - gaps in care that require immediate attention.
What is the fundraising process like?
It is a collaborative initiative, and currently, Prof. Maryna, Souksakhone, and I will be leading it. However, we are more than excited and open to having more people involved. Prof. Maryna will not be riding but will help us gather information and we will continue to update our Instagram page and this page as much as we can. Souksakhone Sengasaisouk is a Junior Nursing student at Luther College. He will ride and handle routes and navigation (logistic part). Please join Souk if you are familiar with the route and are willing to assist in logistics. I will ride and also write and give as many updates as I can on the Instagram page and this page. Here is our Instagram: rideforukraine_
How can you help us?
The best thing you can do to help is to donate. Every dollar counts, so your first step should be to donate. As a second step, please share this information with your friends, family, or student organizations that you are involved with. Thirdly, please join us for the bike ride. If you are interested in joining us on rides or becoming a support crew from Luther then please email me at [email redacted]. You are welcome to contact any of us if you have any other ideas to support this initiative.
Souk, and I will be biking from Rochester to Luther on May 7th with other riders. Updates will be available on our Instagram page (videos, pictures) as well as on this page at every stop.
In what way will the fund reach Khmelnytskyi?
Upon finishing the biking trip, we will send the money, via Prof. Maryna, to Khmelnytskyi volunteers who will be in charge of purchasing and distributing medications. The contact people in Khmelnytskyi are Anna Svyatska and Ievgen Bezylevych, both trusted friends and family of Prof. Maryna, who are working hard towards the victory. In addition, we will post an update on our social media and on this page of proof, and if possible, we will request a list of the items the Oncology Clinic purchased with the funds we generated.

Organizer and beneficiary

Anita Tamang
Rochester, MN
Maryna Bazylevych

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