June 18 marked the date of MigraCode’s Gran Fondo 2022. Our second cycling fundraiser was a huge success: more than 40 cyclists biked the steep mountains of the Catalan Pyrenees to support the MigraCode program, and 4,800 euros were raised in total. 114 donations made it possible for a new batch of students to study coding with us and eventually find high-quality jobs in the tech industry.

Here you can read more details about the event itself, but in this blog post we change the focus a bit: our volunteer organising team explains how was the experience for them!

MigraCode’s Gran Fondo 2022 through the experiences of our volunteers

Starting in Ripoll, the challenge consisted in picking one of the three proposed routes – 90, 130, or 220 KM –, according to the cyclists’ experience and fitness level. Participants were also asked to register at GoFundMe, which allowed them to share their upcoming effort with others, who in turn could donate on the fundraiser page to support the huge challenge they were taking on. So far, we have received 114 donations! Remember that you can still contribute to the cause here.

June 18 was a really intense day. Some volunteers woke up at 5 am to be ready at the starting point at 6 am, where riders checked in, received the Gran Fondo 2022 jersey (made possible by Global {M}), and were given energy bars and recommendations. Serin, who at that moment was an intern at Open Cultural Center, was in charge of carrying out the registrations. What she enjoyed the most was “seeing all the cyclists and doing the registration with them, and also seeing how excited they were… It was a very good place and moment to be!”.

The rest of the day was very much focused on the cyclists’ progress. Volunteers Karel, Serin, and Emma followed them from a car in order to check on their status and provide them with water and bananas. In another car, Joana was also keeping an eye on things. On its side, Marcelo took pictures of the riders while they were in action. “It was really fun. I couldn’t ride so taking pictures was the way I found to participate and make my contribution”, he explains. “What I enjoyed the most was seeing all the cyclists accomplishing their goals and sharing their emotions… Next year I will participate again for sure, either riding or taking pictures.”.

Cyclists were on their bikes for more than 12 hours; indeed, riders from the longest route crossed the finish line after 7 pm! Marta, Joana, Charlotte, Burçak, Akram and Ali were waiting for them. They did a great job in supporting all the participants with their recovery. For Ali, “seeing the cyclists make such an effort and many people getting together for such a noble cause was a fantastic experience”.

Finally, with a shared dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of all participants and thank everyone who attended, the day couldn’t have ended better. One of the best parts of the event was realizing that it was not just about cycling, but also about bringing together volunteers, students, family, and friends to raise awareness about refugees and migrants in general. We feel extremely thankful to have received so many motivated people!

On behalf of Vincent van Grondelle – MigraCode’s project manager and main organiser of the event – and Open Cultural Center – the parent organisation of MigraCode -, we want to thank:

  • Joana Serrat and Karel van Grondelle, for driving around all day;
  • Nick Waller and Global {M}, for sponsoring the wonderful cycling jerseys;
  • Marcelo Magalhães, for taking great pictures of the event:
  • The whole OCC team for helping to organise this event;
  • All the other volunteers that supported us during this event;
  • All the donors who made financial contributions and further shared our fundraiser;
  • And of course, all the participants who accomplished something amazing together.

See you next year!

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