RWANDANS and the Indian community cyclists joined Somen Debnath in a cycling rally yesterday aimed at increasing awareness about HIV/Aids.
Rwanda Cycling Federation in conjunction with Debnath organised the rally under the auspices of the Ministry of Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Health.
The event started with a procession from Kigali Roundabout located in the heart of the city to Kigali Genocide Memorial Center where cyclists and other participants took time to honor the victims of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Speaking to Sunday Sport, Debnath said that the main idea behind this event was to inform Rwandans and foreigners living in Rwanda, the dangers of HIV/AIDS which he said hinders development of any nation.
“AIDS kills and that is why we need to stage a fight against it. As a cyclist, I am determined to raise the awareness to all people across the globe,”
He has so far traversed 85 countries and Rwanda is his 86th stop. All together, he has ridden his bicycle for a total of 102,050 kilometres.
“A bicycle is a good vehicle that reaches to the remotest areas and villages and I hope Rwandan cyclists will also use it to convey the message intended to fight against HIV/AIDS and spread the message of promoting peace,” he added.
Emmanuel Murenzi, the permanent secretary in the Rwanda Cycling Federation hailed the initiative, saying that the federation is committed to take the message in every cycling competition.
“We will continue to brief the cyclists on the adoption of good behavior that will prevent them from contracting HIV/AIDS as their dreams; performance will be shattered if they are infected with the disease,”
“This message will be conveyed throughout all our competition in bid to reach out to all Rwandans deep in the rural areas,” added Murenzi.
Debnath is on a world tour aimed at increasing awareness about HIV/Aids. He is emphasising the message; ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
He entered Rwanda through Gatuna from Uganda on April 14 and is expected to leave the country on May 4. He is heading to Burundi next, Tanzania, then to Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa and before finalizing his African journey in Senegal. He will then board a plane to Brazil.