Two Oceans, One Day:
ULTRA TRAIL BIKE CHALLENGE TO HELP END MODERN SLAVERY
Support Kim, Phil, Cory, Pascal, and 6 other riders as they take on the challenge of biking from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean and over the San Blas Mountains of Panama, all in 1 day, in an effort to create awareness and raise funds for those subjected to the worst forms of forced labour and modern slavery.
Earlier this year, The Abolish Foundation's Director Kim Carter biked from ocean to ocean to raise funds to provide Ajay, a survivor of forced labour, with a prosthetic arm. Funds were also raised to support development of the BuyFair app (detailed below). Here is Ajay's story in 25sec:
Kim survived the grueling 6 hour cycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast of Panama, a route fraught with difficult conditions and unexpected challenges. Despite blowing a tire in the practice run, encountering complications communicating with the Guna tribe, and losing control of his bike on a mountain never before cycled, Kim completed the challenge in (almost) one piece and very necessary funds were raised.
Since then, The Abolish Foundation has been working with the Centre for Labor Research and Action and Prayas to help Ajay. In the first stage of fitting of his prosthesis, Dr. Pooja Mukul was provided with a 15sec video-clip of Ajay's remaining arm in order to determine what type of arm he would be eligible for:
We are pleased to report that Ajay is now in the final stages of fitting for his new, myoelectric arm. Here is an 11sec video of Ajay moving his new arm for the first time (if you look carefully in the bottom left of the image you can see the cosmetic covering that will be placed over the electronic mechanism):
Ajay is currently in the process of learning how to use his arm from basic movements to writing (for the first time in three and a half years!) and we will share those videos as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is a message we received from Dr. Pooja Mukul:
Following this success, Kim Carter, Phil Mason, Cory Powell, Pascal Kalt, and 6 other cyclists will brave the Ultra Trail Bike Challenge this coming February, to raise funds for another survivor of forced labour: Anil Baghora. In 2012, when Anil was only 12 years old, his entire arm was violently cut-off in a ghastly accident while working in an unsafe cotton ginning factory in Northern India.
Funds raised from this team bike ride will provide Anil with a new arm and potentially a new sense of confidence as he heads in to adulthood.
But we know that the root problem is far from solved.
Child labour is rampant, not only in these types of factories in India but at all levels of the supply-chain of products in so many parts of the world. The root problem has to be addressed with a ‘top down’ approach.
As such, the first $7000 raised will go directly to Anil's new prosthesis and funds raised above that will go directly to support the development of the BuyFair mobile app. The app will help provide consumers with a rating tool to see which brands have a supply-chain with a high likelihood of forced labour or labour exploitation in their supply chain.
The BuyFair app has the power to change the way consumers purchase products, the power to hold businesses more accountable for their supply-chains, and the power to save lives of those working in forced labour- just like Ajay and Anil. While the app has been developed primarily by volunteers, there are hard costs that require funding in order to get the BuyFair app in to the hands of a global audience.
The Abolish Foundation is proudly making the BuyFair app possible and is now in the private beta stage (buyfair.org). It is important to know that all Directors of TAF are volunteers and so are the cyclists!
All bike riders will be paying their own way to Panama and for all supplies, permits, and insurances needed to take on the Ultra Trail Challenge. TAF is not contributing to the expenses incurred by riders so all of the funds can be put towards helping put an end to these horrible labour injustices.
On behalf of all the riders and volunteers at The Abolish Foundation, thank you for your interest in the stories of these brave young men and for your support of our efforts against forced labour in global supply chains.
The inaugural Ultra Trail Challenge was completed on March 28, 2018 by intrepid TAF Director Kim Carter.
The challenge: cycle from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in one day over the San Blas Mountains
The country: Panama
The route: start with lush country roads at Coquira, catch the tail end of the Pan-American road, ride up into the San Blas Mountain cloud forest, and attempt to remain on the bike while tackling extreme gradients and conditions on the way to Carti.
The goal: raise funds to support the BuyFair app, plus enough to cover the expenses for a prosthesis for Ajay Kumar, a young cotton-mill labourer in Rajasthan, India, whose right arm was chopped off in a cotton ginning factory. One year hence, Ajay has yet to receive any compensation from his employer, but he now has a prosthetic arm, thanks to kind donors of the challenge.
The outcome: Success! We raised enough funds to support the BuyFair app to take it into the Beta Testing Phase as well as pay for the purchase and fitting of Ajay's prosthesis…………and Kim suffered no ill consequences!