Four remarkable Irish students are cycling through Europe this summer to raise awareness and funds for Amnesty’s work on the refugee and migrant crisis.
Michael, Adam, Fionn and David of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology set off on a 3,300km journey at the beginning of June. Cycling from Finland to Greece, the students are discovering what it feels like to cross borders and how their experience differs from the experiences of migrants and refugees.
“Before this trip, I had never crossed over a land border before,” explained Fionn. “Having done so now with ease, and without any identification check, has made me think more of the difficulties refugees face crossing borders.”
The cyclists are visiting Amnesty International offices along their route and meeting with fellow human rights activists. So far they have marched with LGBT Amnesty activists at Pride in Warsaw, and shared an interesting conversation with a retired schoolteacher turned Amnesty volunteer in Krakow about the Soviet Union.
As they travel through 10 countries, talking to local people about human rights issues is proving far more educational than their text books: “Google is great, but being able to ask questions face to face is 100 times better,” says Adam.
“Even if you ask a question and someone says nothing, it’s saying something. Our lecturers aren’t wrong, it’s always better to talk to people directly involved in the work you are discussing. I have learn more in the last few weeks about LGBTI* rights, that I have in the last few years.”
The physical toil of cycling such a distance is proving quite the challenge and we hope you joining us in cheering on the team as they continue their journey to Athens.