Run the Silk Road Marathon
Why Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan?
Similar to the other countries in the region, Kyrgyzstan’s location is a key indication of its nature and spirit: a blend of East meets West, with an indigenous past. Although hints of Islamic and Soviet culture have both left their trace, it is Kyrgyzstan’s expansive mountains, valleys, grasslands, and lakes that have decidedly shaped its identity. However, I am running the Silk Road Marathon in Kyrgyzstan to support their taking a stand against the dire working conditions in the cotton sector of the region. A gravely serious issue in neighboring Uzbekistan, where forced child labor in the cotton fields is rampant—Kyrgyzstan’s decision to privatize farmland has allowed hundreds of farmers to convert to organic cotton production
Through the help and training programs provided by Helvetas—a Swiss charity organization, implementing organic farming methods now allows Kyrgyzstan farmers to significantly increase their income by selling cotton at higher prices, while also helps them to avoid serious health and environmental problems that comes with using synthetic pesticides. Follow me here to Kyrgyzstan to support a country and charity that are both demanding change in the gravely unjust cotton farming industry that upholds the supply chain in the ever-demanding garment industry.