This year's 40.3 for Freedom run replaces Hagar's yearly Angkor Wat Run in Cambodia, which it was not able to hold this year due to the pandemic. Photo from Hagar Singapore's Facebook page.

This year's 40.3 for Freedom run replaces Hagar's yearly Angkor Wat Run in Cambodia, which it was not able to hold this year due to the pandemic. Photo from Hagar Singapore's Facebook page.

If by running you could give survivors of trafficking and slavery a leg up in this pandemic, how far would you run?

It could be as short as 4.03km, as long as 40.3km, or as far as you can in 40.3 minutes, if you join Hagar Singapore’s virtual fitness fundraising event, 40.3 for Freedom.

The number 40.3 is significant because there are 40.3 million people living in slavery around the world, with this number looking set to grow.

Globally, there are 40.3 million people still in slavery. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom's website.

Globally, there are 40.3 million people still in slavery. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom’s website.

“No matter how tough our days are, when we are hit by a global crisis like this, we know at the back of our minds that we will still not go hungry,” said Michael Chiam, executive director of Hagar Singapore.

“But for survivors of trafficking and slavery, they have almost nothing – no safety nets and limited access to remedies. Overnight, they lost their jobs and abilities to put food on the table for their families.”

The funds raised will go to Hagar's projects in Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Singapore, though priority will go to Cambodia as we are experiencing the greatest needs there. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom's website.

The funds raised will go to Hagar’s projects in Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Singapore, though priority will go to Cambodia as they are experiencing the greatest needs there. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom’s website.

Founded in 1994, Hagar Singapore runs recovery and empowerment programmes for victims in Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, as well as migrants who are trafficked to Singapore for sexual and labour exploitation.

The virtual run, which replaces the organisation’s yearly fundraising Angkor Wat Run in Cambodia, will start on November 23 and last for 10 days. It will conclude on December 2, which marks the International Day for Abolition of Slavery.

Participants can choose to run, cycle or walk in this event. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom's website.

Participants can choose to run, cycle or walk anywhere in Singapore for this event. Photo from 40.3 for Freedom’s website.

As they run, participants of the run are encouraged to raise at least $500 each, which will help at least 10 survivors. 

Hagar Singapore hopes to raise at least $50,000 by the end of the year. These funds will help to provide survivors with critical food assistance and essential supplies, medical treatment and trauma healing, school fees and education support, and economic assistance and skills training.

“I rejoice each day knowing that God’s grace has enabled me to love and help one person at a time.”

Chiam said: “At Hagar, we are committed to the recovery and empowerment of the least of these brothers and sisters as described in Matthew 25:40.

“We have personally worked with survivors who have overcome their past, and are pursuing God’s calling in their lives now. The journey to recovery and long and winding but it is not impossible.

“Over the past 26 years, some of our former beneficiaries have become medical doctors, counsellors, teachers, small business owners. Many have gone back to serve marginalised communities in their own home countries.

“Through the 40.3 Freedom Race, we hope to raise awareness of the plight of these survivors and vital funds especially for those who are severely impacted by the Covid-19.

“There are so many needs around the world. It is true that we cannot help everyone. But I rejoice each day knowing that God’s grace has enabled me to love and help one person at a time, living out a fulfilling and empowered life according to God’s design.”

Want to join 40.3 for Freedom?

Dates: 23 Nov-2 December
Location: Anywhere in Singapore
Registration fee: $30

Suitable for all ages and abilities, there are 3 challenges to choose from, and one can complete the race anytime from Nov 23 to Dec 2. In this virtual race, you can opt to Run, Cycle or Walk to complete the challenge where you are.

4.03 km Fun Trail
40.3 km Endurance Test
40.3 minute Dash

There are 3 steps to registration:

  1. Sign up for the race and select your challenge. There are two distances (4.03km and 40.3km) to choose from. Alternatively, you can opt for a sprint to clock the longest distance within 40 minutes and 30 seconds.
  2. Set up your fundraising page and let people know what motivated you to join the 40.3 for Freedom. With just $500 raised, you can help 10 survivors recover from exploitation and abuse.
  3. Complete the challenge any time from November 23 to December 2. Hagar beneficiaries in Cambodia and Singapore will be participating too.

Find out more here.

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Salt&Light

Salt&Light is an independent, non-profit Christian news and devotional website with a passion for kingdom unity, and a vision of inspiring faith to arise in the marketplace.