Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) and UK based Christian Relief and Development Agency (Tearfund) on Monday launched a three-day bike tour around the country dubbed ‘Cycle of Hope’ in a bid to use the fast-growing sport in the country to change lives of unprivileged communities in the country.
A total of 16 donors and supporters of the charity organization from England and Northern Ireland are in the country since Monday to visit their projects in three districts namely Kayonza, Bugesera and Muhanga. All the three districts will be visited by biking in a bid to raise more awareness of the sport in the country and to raise funds.
The three-day cycling tour was launched on Monday at Nobleza Hotel in Kicukiro but kicked off yesterday (Tuesday) with the riders guided by retired Rwandan professional cyclists Nathan Byukusenge and Rafiki Uwimana heading to Kayonza (Gahini) from Kicukiro.
Today (Wednesday), they will peddle off from Kicukiro heading to Bugesera (Nyamata) before concluding their trip in Muhanga on Thursday. They will also visit the Volcanoes and Akagera National Parks.
Speaking during the launch, FERWACY Secretary General Emmanuel Murenzi hailed Tearfund UK for their desire to lend a hand in developing the sport as well as changing people’s lives through cycling trips.
“We are very grateful to Tearfund for having approached us to organise this tour, this has been one of our long-term targets to use cycling to develop our country through tourism and we hope to continue working with them every time they approach us,” said Murenzi
In a separate interview with delegation representative Paul Francis, he noted that they hope to use the event to attract more Tearfund sponsors and donors through the stories that they will collect in three days in a campaign to raise £40,000 for Tearfund Rwanda of which £30,000 has been collected.
“Everyone on our team shares a common passion of helping the needy and cycling so we shall be collecting stories from communities as we visit different projects and later we shall share our experiences, we hope it will inspire people in UK to give generously and financially to the work of Tearfund Rwanda,” said Paul Francis.
Tearfund has been working in Rwanda since the early 1990s.
Since then, they have worked with partners to launch peace-building initiatives and empower communities.
Currently, they have five projects in the country that include Across ethnic divides, Moucecore which works through the church to enable ‘solidarity transformation’, Association Mwana Ukundwa (AMU), meaning ‘loved child’, which aims at ending child poverty through education.
AMU empowers orphans, foster families and child headed households through small business loans and training in skills such as tailoring and embroidery.
In hunger- and disaster-prone southern Rwanda, the Rural Development Interdiocesan Service is boosting food production through activities such as valley drainage and irrigation, compost and manure production, poultry and pig farming, fish farming and bee keeping.
The other project is African Evangelistic Enterprise that is helping 30,000 people in eastern Rwanda through self-help groups, enabling them to access credit and pool their resources in saving schemes.