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During the Ride 4 Freedom Virginia, Stella and Harriet, human trafficking survivors from Uganda will be highlighted and their names will be written on each participant's arm as a significant act of advocacy and awareness to run for their freedom and the many others with similar stories! If you want to have an even greater impact, begin sharing these stories now through the Raise Your Arm campaign. Read Stella and Harriet's stories, and then select one of the following tiers within the Raise Your Arm campaign to help share one of those stories and fight for freedom!
Stella's Story: In her 13 years on this earth, Stella has experienced a lot. Stella is one of five siblings. Her mother has a mental illness and is unable to fully take care of her children, and her father is often away. The lack of parental care leaves Stella and her siblings vulnerable to many kinds of danger.
For about a month, while Stella was traveling to and from school, one of her classmates would find her and rape her. After a month, Stella found out that she was pregnant and the boy who raped her was arrested. But the police only detained him for three days before releasing him from custody. As a result, Stella was forced to drop out of Lagutu Primary school in March 2015. She is now a member of Christine’s House, Freedom 4/24’s sponsored home in Gulu, Uganda, founded in 2012. For $116 a month, Stella is able to call Christine’s House “home” and receive food, education, medical care, as well as psychological and spiritual counseling and much more. Your support and your participation in this year’s Ride 4 Freedom Lynchburg event means that Stella, and children like her, can have futures that are brighter than their pasts.
Harriet's Story: All of her life, Harriet’s birth parents have had a fraught relationship. Harriet lives with her stepmother, who does not care about her. Her stepmother did not care when she dropped out of school and she did not care when Harriet was home alone and four boys came over to her house and sexually violated her.
Now at age 15, Harriet wakes up everyday in severe pain, aching to the point where she simply cannot sit upright.
But Harriet is not alone. Her story is one of millions from all across the world. Harriet is a 16 year old resident of Christine’s House, Freedom 4/24’s sponsored home in Gulu, Uganda. At Christine’s house, she receives food, housing, education, counseling as well as the medical care that she desperately needs. Your support and your participation in this year’s Ride 4 Freedom Lynchburg event means that Harriet, and the other girls at Christine’s House, can recover from the exploitation and trauma they have experienced and move on to healthier, stronger futures.
TIER 1: For 30 days leading up to your Ride 4 Freedom event, select one of the highlighted survivors of human trafficking and write her name on your arm for each of those 30 days. For each of those 30 days, pray for that woman and others like her, for the end of human trafficking and slavery, and for continued progress in shining light on this darkness. Share your survivor’s story with your family and friends and encourage them to become involved. Share your journey on social media using the hashtags #raiseyourarmchallenge and #freedom424
TIER 2: Along with Tier 1, take the next step and invest in the life of a trafficking survivor by becoming a fundraiser. What can you do with $24?...5 cups of Starbucks, a tank of gas, a movie and popcorn...For $24, you can provide 1 week of education, 2 weeks of counseling, 3 weeks of housing, 4 weeks of food for a trafficking survivor. Go to the Fundraise tab to become a fundraiser or to donate and again, share your journey on social media using the hashtags #raiseyourarmchallenge and #freedom424.
TIER 3: In addition to Tier 1 and 2, RIDE for freedom. Cycling requires effort and action and may be difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. Think about the lives of these women and children and how their experiences have been hard and ride through your pain. Bike for the girl whose name has been on your arm for the last 30 days AND if you fundraise $50 or more, you can ride for FREE!