Trekking for Change inspires hope
Hikers challenged to raise money for Dalit children
BRUCE TRAIL, ON—A passion for hiking, missions, and the “untouchable” children of India is the inspiration behind a fundraiser now entering its second year.
Doug B. grew up as a missionary kid in Europe, where he first fell in love with mountain trekking in the Alps. His passion grew as time went on.
“I have a great joy of the outdoors, whether it is hiking or running on a trail or cycling the open roads around the world,” says Doug. For the past 20 years, he and his wife have also been in involved in full-time mission work, most recently with Dalit Freedom Network (DFN).
Doug was particularly touched by the plight of the Dalit children in India. There are 250 million Dalits, or “untouchables,” living in India. For thousands of years, they have been considered the lowest caste. Until recently, Dalit children have had very little opportunity for education.
“Many of the Dalit leaders 14 years ago approached the church leaders in India to ask for help to break free from this caste system,” Doug says. “They want to embrace a religion other than Hinduism and believe Christianity has the most to offer their people, as it gives them the dignity of being created by God.”
DFN focuses on helping Dalit children obtain a quality education in English, which helps them break out of the mental slavery they are subjected to as young children.
Doug’s idea for a hiking-inspired fundraiser—Trekking for Change—supports DFN’s work. “God stirred my heart a few years ago to combine my love for adventure trekking and raising awareness of the work we are involved in with Dalit Freedom Network,” says Doug.
“The idea was born of bringing others along and allowing them to travel to some of the iconic places on the globe to trek to make a difference!”
This year, Trekking for Change saw participants—who raised pledges with funds going to DFN—hiking the Bruce Trail, the longest marked hiking trail in Canada, July 6-11. They travelled through Bruce Peninsula National Park, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, while staying at bed and breakfast lodging along the way.
A second fundraiser takes place November 1-15 in Nepal.
Doug hopes these treks will change lives. “You can help more children who are taught at the earliest stages of life that they are worthless and less valuable than animals, they have value and worth in the eyes of God.”
Visit www.dalitfreedom.net for more information on Trekking for Change.
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