Following her passion to help orphans around the world, Tana Silverland moved to Canada and immediately started traveling around the country spreading awareness and encouraging support for SOS Children’s Villages, an independent, non-governmental social development organization which has been active in the field of children’s needs, concerns and rights since 1949.According to its Web site SOS Children’s Villages “builds families for children in need, help them shape their own futures and share in the development of their communities.”“There’s nothing more important than taking care of orphans,” Silverland said.“Because of the wonderful stable start in my life from my parents, I’m aware not all children have that great a start.”For most of her journey, Silverland is traveling Canada on a recumbent tricycle which draws initial attention everywhere she goes.
With the goal to reach as many communities as possible, Silverland is willing to talk to any community organization willing to
“I’m relying on the kindness of strangers and so far strangers have been amazingly kind,” she said.
Although family and friends were concerned Silverland was embarking on this journey solo, she said so far it has been wonderful and nothing negative to report.
“I’m always aware of potential issues on the road but my number one priority is safety.”
While in Quesnel, the 38-year-old spoke to Sunrise Rotary, spreading the message of SOS Children’s Villages.
“I’m not promoting this tour as a fundraiser, but rather as an awareness campaign, the trike draws a lot of attention and this opens the door to promoting the charity organization,” Silverland said.
“SOS Children’s Villages is very aware of what I’m doing and although they completely support my efforts, they don’t fund my journey. I’m a volunteer.
“I believe SOS Children’s Villages is one of the best orphan charities around.”
SOS Children’s Villages operates in 132 countries worldwide with more than 500 villages serving 78,000 children directly as well as more than one million in
communities at risk.
“Especially where health and education infrastructure is lacking, they offer this to the children and the wider community,” she said.
Her journey began in Whitehorse, Yukon in June 2010, and she expects to complete it in Newfoundland towards the end of 2012.
“The response so far has been extremely positive,” she said.
“I’m quite overwhelmed by the support but SOS Children’s Villages’ profile is still quite low compared to other orphan charities, so that’s certainly a primary reason for my journey,” she said.
When she retires her trike, Silverland plans to make Canada her permanent home.
She’s already been granted landed immigrant status but has yet to determine where she’d like to to live.
“I’d very much like to do some volunteer work with one of the Children’s Villages but I’m deliberately keeping my options open for after I finish this cross-Canada project,” she said.
“I expect to know Canada better than most Canadians.”
For information on SOS Children’s Villages, visit www.soschildrensvillages.ca.
To follow Silverland on her journey visit her blog at tanasilverland.wordpress.com.