Dearest friends and supporters,
It is that time of year again, and Cycling4Gaza is gearing up for its next challenge. As many of you know, we have organised five cycles since 2009, covering over 1800km across the UK and France, Italy, Jordan, Turkey and Germany, with a sixth cycle just around the corner. We have raised over 650,000 GBP in support of healthcare and education projects in the Gaza Strip and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Together with our wonderful charity partners, we have directly impacted the lives of over 8,000 children in projects focused on early childhood education, mental health support and psychosocial work, rehabilitation for children with disabilities, and maternal and child healthcare. Your passion and support continue to give us the inspiration we need to make a positive difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable Palestinians.
The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is one such charity partner that has worked tirelessly to implement healthcare projects across the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The PCRF, a non-profit, non-political medical relief organisation, was founded in 1991 by concerned people who were looking for ways to contribute to the humanitarian needs of children under Israeli military occupation. Over the past twenty-two years, the PCRF has treated 10,000 children through direct surgery carried out by hundreds of visiting teams of doctors and specialists from all over the world. The PCRF has also sent over 1,000 children from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq for free surgery in North and South America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the Middle East.
In 2013, the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund launched the REACH (Reaching Every Affected Child in Gaza) Gaza Project in partnership with us. The long-term aim of the REACH project is to support every child in need of serious medical care in the Gaza Strip. Last year, together with our 39 cyclists, and thanks to the commitment of our supporters, friends and families, we raised over 150,000 GBP which supported the treatment and care of 270 children through the REACH project. The funds raised will continue to treat more children throughout 2014.
Khalid Shorab, a two year old living in the Khan Younis refugee camp, is one of those children. He was treated as the first case by a visiting team of doctors from France, led by Dr. Dominique Metras, a long-time PCRF volunteer. Khaled suffered from a congenital defect known as atrial septal defect (ASD); more commonly known as a hole in his heart. The defect prevents normal blood flow through Khalid’s heart leading to reduced oxygen levels within the blood, and affects his brain and other organs. Like most families living in Gaza, Khalid’s family did not have the means to find medical care for him, neither through local private hospitals nor hospitals outside Gaza. Khalid was operated on by Dr Metras and his team on January the 18th of this year, and has now fully recovered. He is one of the 11 children treated by Dr. Metras and his team. Clearly, there are many other children in the Gaza Strip who do not receive such support, and it is our mission, with the PCRF, to reach as many of them as possible.
This year, we are aiming to increase the amount we have raised by a further 150,000 GBP in order to continue to support the PCRF’s worthwhile project and ensure that as many children as possible receive the care and support they need.
You can be a part of this effort. Join us on our upcoming cycle! The 2014 cycling challenge is taking place in the US; we will be cycling over 300km from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. this September. In the registration pack (Cycling4Gaza 2014 Registration Pack) you can find detailed information on the 2014 cycling challenge, the route, the registration procedure, FAQ’s, the PCRF and the REACH Gaza project we are supporting. If you are unable to join, or if sitting on a saddle for 7 hours a day is simply not your thing, you can still support us by helping to spread the word; and by visiting www.pcrf.net/cycling4gaza if you would like to make a contribution. 100% of all donations go directly to the PCRF REACH project in Gaza.
To help us spread the word on social media, please visit:
Twitter and Instagram – @cycling4gaza
Thank you again and we hope to see many of you soon!
The Cycling4Gaza team
Zara Hannoun, Miral Alaraj, Tala Fahoum and Tamara Ben Halim