November 23th Shannon Galpin visited Pakhuis de Zwijger to share her story and the story of the brave woman cyclists from Afghanistan. To keep doing her work and bring these young women and their families to safety more funding is needed. In this article you can read all about the goal of this fundraiser and the incredible project that is saving lives.

© Deni bechard

Since August 15th, 2021 Shannon Galpin and a small team of wonderful individuals have worked around the clock to evacuate the cyclists and family members to safety. The 112 women that have been resettled, are already scattered throughout Europe, Canada, and the US, but the many are still being supported in safehouses.

Those that have been evacuated are traumatised and depressed as they see their families back home face a country-wide famine and the collapse of their beloved country while the world seems to have turned its back on Afghanistan. A parallel fight to support the cyclists as their own Afghan Cycling Federation has worked against them to impede their evacuation, harassed and even sent death threats has added the burden of safehouses and trauma support to an already difficult and harrowing situation. Many have been physically harmed, others harassed, threatened, and emotionally abused, layering trauma upon trauma.

© Jenny Nichols

The goal since they began this work 16 months ago was always with an eye to the long-term programming goal of supporting these athletes after their evacuation. So that they had the best possible chance for success and to keep them connected with their teammates. This has been derailed due to the relentless pace of the evacuation, as the burden of safeguarding was pushed onto the shoulders of individuals to do the work of governments. Several, like the founders of the cycling movement in Bamyan, are safe in Sweden and Germany and are already racing again. Reconnecting with their identity as cyclists and the cycling community in their new homes.

Now the only barrier to evacuations is funding as individuals and small non-profits do the work that governments have failed to act upon. The evacuation and the ongoing programming support is led by Shannon Galpin, who has worked in Afghanistan since 2008 as a human rights activist, and directly with these athletes since 2013. She knows the country well and has evacuation routes and resources that are working, we just need to keep funding the work and the safeguarding the athletes.

© Sarah Menzies

Do you want to help by donating?

We are trying to raise the remaining amount of €50.000 to help finish the work. If you want to help: click here. Every little bit helps!