Fundraiser aids oppressed Somalians

It was a two-day pedal bike ride, inspired by Amanda Lindhout who was kidnapped in Somalia for 15 and a half months

Emily Falk and her father rode from Red Deer to Canmore to raise money for the Global Enrichment Foundation.

Emily Falk and her father rode from Red Deer to Canmore to raise money for the Global Enrichment Foundation.

It was a two-day pedal bike ride, inspired by Amanda Lindhout who was kidnapped in Somalia for 15 and a half months, and it raised more than the riders imagined.

Emily Falk raised over $4,500 riding from Red Deer to Canmore in just two days. The initial goal was $4,000.

Pledges were given in support of the project before the ride took place. “A lot of the support came from the Rimbey community,” Falk said.

Falk raised the money and rode in support of the Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF). Lindhout founded GEF after she was released from Somalia. The foundation is dedicated to helping oppressed Somalian women through education, business training and sports.

GEF has created a new project, the Rajo Woman’s Literary School. Seventy- five Somalian women are refugees in Kenya receiving education and business training.

In Somalian rajo means hope.

During her ride Falk was accompanied by her father and a support vehicle.

‘It was incredible,” she said, referring to the ride and the mountains she passed.

On the first day, Falk and her father biked from Red Deer to Cochrane, where they spent the night. It wasn’t hard, Falk said, because the weather was nice.

During their bike from Cochrane to Canmore the weather turned on them. “It was like 10 to 15 minutes of torrential downpour.”

Falk decided to bike as a way to raise awareness for the situations in Somalia where women are oppressed and live without a livelihood or education.

Two years ago Falk had the opportunity to hear Lindhout speak of her experiences in Somalia.

“Hearing her story really inspired me.” At the time Falk was coaching basketball. Her team held a free-throw fundraiser to raise awareness that generated $4,200.

She also got to meet Lindhout, who asked her to form a Red Deer branch for GEF.

Falk’s branch is called B.R.I.T.E., Bring Relief Inspiring Through Education.

For the rest of August Falk is taking a fundraising break but she hopes to organize a charity concert in September or October.