Tana Silverland cycles Canada for SOS Children’s Villages

By Joel Charron

Tana Silverland is an interesting woman on an interesting journey for an interesting cause.

Silverland, a native of the United Kingdom has been cycling across Canada for over 18 months, with no support team and funding to bring awareness to SOS Children’s Villages.

SOS Children’s Villages has been active since 1949, working for children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose families are unable to care for them. They provide the children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family.

The family approach in SOS Children’s Villages is based on four principles: each child needs a mother and grows up most naturally with brothers and sisters, in their own house, within a supportive “village” environment.

“SOS Children Villages is the world largest orphan focused charity,” said Silverland.

After a stint as a volunteer with SOS Children Villages in the UK, Silverland was determined to get the word out on this noteworthy charity.

Tana Silverland has been cycling across Canada for the past 18 months to spread the word about SOS Children’s Villages. Having already visited over well over 100 communities, Silverland has at least 100 more to visit.

She quit her job, said goodbye to family and friends; kick started a blog to chronicle her adventure and started on a unique journey across Canada.

She began in June 2010 in Whitehorse, YT and plans to end her adventure in Cape Spear, NFLD.

According to Silverland she has visited 136 communities, with more than 100 more left on her list.

Silverland said she started this journey because coming from a loving home herself, she knows the importance of having a “good, loving solid relationship.

“Children need that day to day stability and guidance,” she said. “They need a solid foundation and getting to grow up knowing that someone loves them.”

Silverland never expected to be riding across Canada. She originally brought a recumbent trike as an alternative to more expensive auto commuting.  Although, Silverland admits some days are harder than other but it’s the children that drive her harder and harder.

“It’s about getting to as many communities all over the country,” she said. “My motivation comes from the appreciation I have for how important a loving, happy childhood is.  When the going gets tough, what keeps me going is to think of all the kids out there that I’m trying to help.”

Silverland said she’ll remind herself of what their life would be like if SOS Children’s Villages didn’t exist.

“As soon as you do that, regardless what I’m going through, whether it’s rain or a head wind, my life doesn’t seem so bad,” she explained.

With no funding, Silverland said she relies on the generosity of strangers to help her on her way.

While in Amherstburg, Silverland stayed at the house of Mike and Nancy Greenaway. Through her journeys Silverland said she has met some “wonderful people” and is made to feel welcome in every community she visits.

“I’ve been made to feel wonderfully welcomed,” she said. “With have no sponsorship, I am literally dependant on the kindness of people and the communities I come to for my survival. I have been very, very well taken care of all across Canada. People have been incredibly kind and very interested in what I’m doing and the message I’m delivering.”

Silverland was in Amherstburg on Nov. 10 and said she planned on visiting Essex before making her way up to London than on to Toronto.

“We are just so lucky in Canada and the UK. We have so many privileges. We don’t even know how lucky we are, we’re that lucky,” she said. “It is never the kids fault for ending up in the situation that they’re in. At an incredible young age they are having to deal with so much, I’m quite sure if any us here in Canada had to live a week the way some of the kids live we would be absolutely sunk.”

If you would like to follow Silverland journey, or make a donation to SOS Children’s Villages go to http://tanasilverland.wordpress.com.


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