Once December hits, it’s usually full-on holiday madness. Anyone and everyone is obsessed with finding the perfect gift to give. But what about those of us who are focused on giving back to the world and the community, rather than giving gifts? This year, we want to focus on giving back as well as giving to each other. So, in addition to bringing you our annual gift guide, we’re also profiling our amazing Ro’Heroes who are giving back this month.
We’ve got tons of charity rides coming up to support causes that mean a lot to us, and we’d like to highlight the badass, charitable Ro’heroes who are making them happen. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to Michelle Rijksen, one of our amazing Ro’heroes this month who is riding to support Not for Sale.
Hi Michelle! We are so glad you’re organising a charity ride and are thrilled to get to know you and your cause a bit more. Can you introduce yourself?
I’ve only been a Ro’rider for a couple months now but was hooked from my first ride! Being quite introverted, Rocycle helps me release my ‘inner beast’. I’m an American and mother of two who’s lived in Amsterdam for 13 years (I’m married to a Dutch man and here for the long haul). Among my favourite things in life are good books, almost anything involving arts and culture, being with friends and an excellently prepared latte.
Inner beast! We love that. So we’re super interested in your charity. Can you tell us a bit more about what it does?
Many people are not aware that modern day slavery exists and that it’s a multi-billion euro business. Not for Sale empowers victims of human trafficking to take back control of their lives. They offer training for those staying in Amsterdam shelters, allowing the opportunity for them to develop their skills and find jobs. This helps them feel they are part of society again and dare to make plans for the future, which also supports the recovery process for the victims.
Yeah, we think that many people think it’s a thing of the past, so it’s incredibly important to draw attention to an issue like this. It’s clearly something you care about a lot. What’s the significance for you? Why did you choose this charity?
Human trafficking is an issue that has always stirred something deep within me. If there’s anything that I can do to bring awareness to the problem and help to make a change practically, I want to embrace that. I am so excited to be involved in this way and to extend an opportunity to others to do so as well. I hope others will be inspired to join the ride!
We imagine you’re going to have a pretty full house. Are you doing anything else to support the charity apart from your Ro’ride?
I’m at an interesting crossroads in my life. After my youngest was born, I stopped working. I’m at a place now where I want to work again and am in the process of seeing a job coach to work out how I can mesh my skills with my passions. So, in answer to the question, I’m not raising money for the cause outside of the ride, but I am looking at how I could start working for an organisation like Not for Sale.
How cool! It would be incredible to be involved more seriously. Are there any other causes that are true to your heart?
There are other great anti human trafficking organisations out there. Stop the Traffik, CoMensha, Skarlaken Koord, A21 and International Justice Mission to name a few!
Duly noted. Adding them all to our list. Now how would you recommend others find a cause they’re passionate about and get involved?
I guess we probably all know something that stirs us up inside and makes us want to see justice in one area or another. If we decide to follow that instinct through to action, it must be pretty easy to find organisations and causes to give to. Just Google it!
Yes, it’s just about making that conscious decision to get involved. Finally, what does giving back mean to you?
More than solely giving money, being physically involved somehow really feels like giving back to me.