Riders for Refugees | How You Can Help People in Need This Christmas
How this charitable initiative set up by two snowboarders is making a difference
With Christmas just around the corner, everything feeling festive and the ski season kicking off across Europe, it can be easy to forget that there are plenty of people for whom this winter will be an utterly miserable experience.
The bloody war in Syria won’t be stopping just because it’s Christmas, and for many of the millions of refugees who’ve fled the conflict, the cold of the winter months only makes their situation worse.
"The cold of the winter months only makes many refugees' situations worse."
In an attempt to alleviate some of this suffering with practical action, two highly respected snowboard journalists-turned-activists have started a charitable initiative, Riders for Refugees. The idea is to encourage snowboarders and skiers to donate old jackets to help keep people warm this winter.
Riders for Refugees are currently setting up drop off points for winter jackets and other technical clobber at various places around the UK and across Europe.
They’re also raising funds on Generosity.com (a charity offshoot of IndieGoGo) to enable them to collect the jackets and deliver them to where they’re most needed - the camps where many refugees and asylum seekers are being held in Greece. Riders for Refugees will be taking donations of jackets between January 5th and January 20th and then set off for Greece towards the end of the month.
The initiative is the brainchild of Danny Burrows, who was editor of our sister title Onboard for many years, and still contributes to both Onboard and Mpora as a writer and photographer. In the years since he left Danny has worked closely with refugees, visiting “The Jungle" in Calais many times, and shooting searing portraits of the camp and its occupants.
Last winter Burrows delivered a load of second-hand waterproof winter jackets that friends and fellow riders had donated to the Jungle, where they were gratefully received. But with the French authorities destroying the camp earlier this year, he and his companions will need to venture further afield this time.
"The Greek people are doing what they can and we want to help."
To this end, he’s involved his friend and former colleague Alexis de Tarade, the former editor of Method (another European snowboard magazine) and the man behind ridewithlocal.com. As a well as being a concerned fellow rider, de Tarade speaks Greek fluently.
“We know that as riders we have the privilege of living the good life," says de Tarade in the pair’s campaign video. “[But] many refugees are stuck in Greece bracing themselves for a harsh winter. The Greek people are doing what they can and we want to help."
To donate funds to to help support Riders for Refugees “Greek Jacket Drop" operation check out their Generosity.com page. To find out more about the campaign and where to send your old jackets and other gear, follow Riders for Refugees on Facebook.