This article has been developed by Serin Tuncehan and Emma Santanach.

On Saturday the 18th of June, the second edition of our Gran Fondo Cycling Fundraiser took place. An event that more than 40 cyclists joined in order to bike the steep mountains of the Catalan Pyrenees to support the MigraCode program. In total, more than 4,800 euros have been raised, making it possible for a new batch of students to study coding at MigraCode and eventually find high-quality jobs in the tech industry.

Starting in Ripoll, participants picked one of the three proposed routes -90, 130 and 220 KM-, which involved climbing more than 72.000 meters in total with temperatures over 35 degrees. However, this flexibility in the distances allowed all sorts of cyclists to join, no matter their experience and fitness level. In the end, not only was this a cycling event but also one with volunteers, students, family and friends joining the event to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and migrants in general and create community.

Participants were 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! You can still donate to the cause here.

What our participants said about the event

The big day was intense: cyclists met with volunteering organisers at the starting point at 5.30 am, where they registered and received the official MigraCode Gran Fondo cycling jersey, made possible by our partner Global {M}. “We wanted to sponsor MigraCode’s Gran Fondo because we see it being a fantastic learning for people to get into the sector”, explains Nick Waller, founder of Global {M}.

Participants literally spent the whole day on the bike: some of them finished after 8 pm! Our team was driving behind them all the time, to ensure they had energy bars, bananas or water. As Alejandro pointed out, “most of the time you will not be alone. Because your level doesn’t matter, if you go fast or slow, you will find people that are on the same paste, so you can reach your own goals”. Likewise, according to Lewis, “regardless of the final distance you aim for, all cyclists set off together and enjoy many kilometres riding shoulder to shoulder taking in the breathtaking views”.

On its side, Nick adds that “something that I enjoyed a lot during the event was not only cycling but also the fact that I talked to people genuinely interesting to speak to. People are very nice, kind, and also offer a very interesting perspective on life”.

Jenny, another participant of the Gran Fondo, raises a very important topic: “it felt great to be riding as a woman in the event and to keep up with all the lads. Especially because MigraCode is an organisation that supports women and is run by so many talented and wonderful women, so it only felt right that some of us got on our bikes, to cycle alongside the men as well”.

We feel extremely thankful to have received so many motivated people – both volunteers and participants – to make this event come true while creating awareness about our program and gathering enough finances to almost sponsor a full new MigraCode course.

For Vincent van Grondelle, MigraCode’s project manager and main organiser of the event, the second edition of MigraCode’s Gran Fondo “was really amazing, people were so motivated to join and so dedicated join. […] Everyone showed this super positive attitude and everyone seemed really happy and of course the cycling was awesome”.

On behalf of Vincent and Open Cultural Center (the parent organisation of MigraCode), we want to thank:

  • Joana Serrat and Karel van Grondelle, for driving around all day to make sure everything was going well;
  • Nick Waller and his company Global {M}, for sponsoring the wonderful cycling jerseys;
  • Marcelo Magalhães, for taking great pictures of the event:
  • The whole OCC team –Charlotte, Marta, Joana, Emma, Serin, Ali and Akram– 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 in 2023, more and even better awaits!

Categories: Blog

1 Comment

Karel · July 2, 2022 at 6:31 am

Dear Emma and Serin, what a wonderful article that describes this special day in the core. thank you!

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