We’re living in an age of delay, interruption, deferral, postponement, and cancellation.

The things we want to do are often out of reach. Travel, spending time with those we love, gatherings, concerts, sports events. They’re still being disrupted due to a pandemic that many of us thought would be gone a few months after it started, and yet, here we are.

One of the biggest consequences for me has been the necessary yet heartbreaking decision to postpone Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast.

This Saturday, I should have been joining around 30 other cyclists and an amazing support crew to begin a journey of over 4,000 kilometres from one side of Australia to the other. It was all about raising money for children living in extreme poverty. Over a month ago we saw the writing on the wall and rescheduled the ride for September/October 2022.

It’s Too Important

While it’s incredibly disappointing that we can’t take to the roads this week, the cause behind the ride is too important to give up. Thousands of children living in extreme poverty are depending on those of us making this journey and making it count. They don’t know we’ll be riding across the continent, they’ll probably never know, but it’s an important cause all the same.

There are children, through no fault of their own, who are living in the most unacceptable circumstances. We plan to make a difference for as many of them as we can by offering them a hope more powerful than poverty.

A United Nations report looking at the effects of the pandemic on the world’s poor was released in July. Some of the findings are hard to fully comprehend.

In addition to over four million deaths due to the coronavirus, between 119-124 million people have already been pushed back into poverty and chronic hunger, and the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs were lost, the report indicates.

“The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress. Global extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1998”, according to the UN Under-Secretary-General.

Millions of children risk never returning to school; while rising numbers have been forced into child marriage and child labour.

“The poorest and most vulnerable continue to be at greater risk of becoming infected by the virus and have borne the brunt of the economic fallout.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected progress towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls has intensified, child marriage is expected to increase, and women have suffered a disproportionate share of job losses and increased care responsibilities at home.

It’s a grim picture.

This statement in the article really hit me.

“We are at a critical juncture in human history. The decisions and actions we take today will have momentous consequences for future generations.”

What decisions and actions will you take today? What decisions and actions will you take to assure a child in extreme poverty that even though we’re facing our own hardships, we hear their cries?

If you’d like to assist children living in poverty by supporting my ride you can do so in two ways.

I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

You can make a direct donation to my fundraising page. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world, children living in extreme poverty.

So far, I’ve received donations from $10 to over $1,000 from some generous friends. All donations above $2 are tax-deductible in Australia. Your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $25,000.

The other way you can help to boost my total is to sponsor a child living in poverty. By visiting my fundraising page and clicking the yellow SPONSOR A CHILD button, your sponsorship will count towards my fundraising goal while releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name. Every child sponsored through my fundraising page counts as $1,000 towards my fundraising goal.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

Sponsor a child. Give them a brighter future so they, and eventually their own children, can live free from poverty.

Whichever way you choose to support me and however much you choose to give, your contribution will not only help push me closer to reaching my target, you’ll also change the life of a child or children living with the devastating effects of extreme poverty.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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