Cuban cycling challenge to help children in Haiti

Children in an orphanage near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Gulf for Good will help children who have been orphaned or left homeless by the quake. (AFP)

The UAE-based charity Gulf for Good will donate part of the proceeds from its Cuban cycling challenge to be held in November to children's charities in Haiti.

Kim Lester, Charity Director at Gulf for Good, said: "As well as supporting a children's charity in Cuba, we wanted to respond to the terrible scenes of devastation witnessed over recent weeks in Haiti, especially to help the children who have been orphaned, injured or left homeless by the earthquake.

"The people of Haiti are receiving emergency help, but officials have estimated that rebuilding the country could cost up to $14 billion [Dh51bn]. The reconstruction of homes, orphanages, hospitals and schools will be crucially important to the long-term recovery of this country."

Hence the charity has decided that part of the funds raised by participants in its Cuban cycling challenge, the Revolutionary Ride, which will be held from November 11 until 20, will be donated to fund reconstruction projects in neighbouring Haiti.

However, according to the charity, even though they have decided that a part of the proceeds will go to Haiti, they are yet to narrow down on the charity that they will support.

Patricia Anderson, Communications Manager, Gulf for Good, told Emirates Business: "We are researching suitable charities and child-related reconstruction projects in Haiti and would be happy to receive suggestions of well-managed charities from anyone with strong links there.

"Gulf for Good always support charities that benefit disadvantaged children and we choose the projects very carefully. They must be well thought out and tangible projects, which require our capital expenditure, such as building classrooms, orphanages and hospital wings or providing medical equipment, etc."

So far, 28 Gulf for Good challenges, with more than 550 participants from 36 countries, including many Gulf nationals, have raised more than $1.5 million for schools, hospitals, orphanages and medical equipment in 17 countries across the Middle East, South America, Asia and Africa.

The rest of the funds from the Cuban challenge will go, as usual, to a children's charity in Cuba. And as is customary on a Gulf for Good challenge, participants will visit the Cuban charity and will also have a chance to visit historical and world heritage sites, stay in small local hotels and guesthouses and come to understand the local culture and the people of Cuba.

Talking about the Cuban cycle ride, Ravi Chandran, Challenge Director of Gulf for Good, said: "Cycling more than 320km in five days on back roads through the lush landscape and rugged hills of Cuba will need stamina and perseverance, but anyone who maintains a good level of fitness and who is willing to do extra cycling training should be able to complete the challenge."

Urging Gulf residents to join the challenge, Chandran said: "Not only will it be an unforgettable experience, but also a real chance to make an enormous difference to thousands of children's lives in both Cuba and Haiti."

Information evenings will held in Dubai on March 16 and in Abu Dhabi on March 23 to inform veterans as well as newcomers about the challenges and the charities the organisation supports, and to give fundraising and training tips.

To find out more about the event, call 04 368 0222 or visit www.gulf4good.org.

 

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