Hello friends, supporters, cyclists, donors, organisers and general browsers and welcome to Cycling4Gaza’s first blog entry of 2011!
This year’s cycle is looking to be even bigger and better, with 45 cyclists now registered – 18 more than our magic number 27 over the past two years. What’s more is our cyclist base is really growing this year, with participants based in the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Jordan, Gaza and Egypt all coming together for the cause. C4G activities have also expanded well beyond the UK, with UAE and Saudi cyclists coming together to create Country Groups, which have since been working together to coordinate fundraising, PR and training efforts on a national basis … the road to reaching our target of £200,000 is looking promising!
So, where is this £200,000 going? Our charity partner for a second year running is the Welfare Association, a well-established international NGO that has been working with the most vulnerable Palestinian communities for over 20 years. The money we raise will support 3 of the Welfare’s projects in Gaza, all of which are part of one of their core programmes in the region, the Gaza Community-Based Rehabilitation programme.
Essentially, each of these projects will offer the resources necessary to advance the learning of disabled children. The Sun Day Care Centre for Special Education, for example, is a 12-month project which will establish an integrated quality educational programme for children aged 7-15 with special needs in Gaza in order to improve their cognitive, behavioural and psychological abilities. We aim to do this through the provision of training of 16 teachers, educational materials and technology, and recreational and educational services to 180 children and to the community in which they live. To me, projects like this are important also because they go as far as to target the society surrounding the children, allowing their families and communities to better understand how to create a nurturing environment for them, both academic and social, something I view as key for the progress of the community as a whole.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be providing you with a deeper insight into each of these projects, which we have begun raising awareness about through our PR campaign. The media aspect is something we are particularly excited about at C4G, as this is the main vehicle through which we hope to raise awareness not only about what we are doing, but about the ongoing situation in Gaza, and the need to support projects on the ground that are working towards a better future for Gaza’s next generation. Our UAE country group has taken great strides in promoting the cycle in local media, having already secured coverage in the Khaleej Times , Arab News and Gulf News .
On the UK front, we will be hosting a Cycling4Gaza night on Wednesday the 28th of September in London, so for the Londoners out there, make sure you save the date! The night will include live music, Palestinian food, a talk from the Welfare about their work in Gaza, and more! Keep your eyes peeled for more information to come next week.
Finally, I’ll sign off this inaugural blog by saying that your support is really invaluable to each and every one of us involved with C4G. Anyone is able to participate in this initiative: spreading the word and getting media coverage through networks, and volunteering with us during events are just as important as the cycle itself- without these, it cannot take place; so play your part if you are able to!
Ta léme sýntoma
(see you soon in Greek)