Since we launched our campaign in late December we have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received and are so excited about what is ahead. We wanted to give you some background on how this ludicrous venture came about as well as fill you in on what we have been up to so far.
It was in the middle of summer 2015 that I (Joel) had the idea to do a long-distance bike ride to raise money for victims of human trafficking. I had no idea who I wanted to give the money to, but I was very clear on the general vision: bicycle from Belgium to India to support organizations that are working effectively to free exploited individuals from sexual slavery. When I returned to my third year of my undergrad in psychology at Trinity Western I was approached by a good friend of mine who wanted to tell me about his experiences working with exploited women and children in India and Nepal. This man was David Punnamannil, the now founder and president of Lighthouse Voyage. He shared his desire to start a non-profit that would partner with local organizations in these countries to rescue and rehabilitate those trapped in sexual slavery. I immediately knew where the money from the bike trip would go and have been working to make this journey a reality ever since.
Brad overheard me talking to his brother about my idea for the trip and it sparked an immediate interest. He met with David and took time to consider whether participating in this fundraising campaign was a legitimate possibility. For him this would mean taking a break from his studies at Columbia Bible College, but the opportunity the make a difference in people’s lives and to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to bike across Europe and a large section of Asia won him over. After just over a month Brad made the commitment to join the campaign and Into the Silent Planet was born.
After we launched our campaign in December we immediately began connecting with people from all different walks of life who are passionate about seeing justice in this area. These connections have grown into sponsors, donors, and valuable sources of information and support as we move closer to leaving on this journey.
We have both been biking a lot more than usual in order to start getting in shape for strenuous demands of the trip, which will see us travelling through a variety of different terrains and weather conditions. We are mapping out the definitive route and looking at visas and flights as we prepare to leave in just under four months.
We have been able to share about our campaign in front of over 200 people at the Lighthouse Voyage launch event and are connecting with news sources in hopes of sharing the vision on a larger scale.
Currently, we are looking to connect with more sponsors in order to acquire the gear and finances needed to make this trip a reality. We have some really exciting leads in this regard, but are looking for more companies and individuals to come alongside and partner with us. Our sponsors so far are ‘My Canvas Media’ and ‘The Epic Group’ (go to ‘the sponsors’ page to learn more).
We are also in the process of planning a fundraising event, which will allow people to hear more about the cause, the journey, and how their donations can make a real difference. It will be a great time so stay tuned for more details!
We are unbelievably excited about the lasting impact that your support will have on so many lives.
Thanks for joining the journey!
Joel & Brad