Support our charities!
Cycle Lake Victoria is an adventure, but it's really about raising funds for 2 great charities and we're a long way short of our £10,000 target!
So, let me try and appeal to your heart strings: Amigos is based in Barnstaple to support youth development in Uganda. It was their Christmas appeal 'pedal out of poverty' that inspired the whole trip. It turns out that in Uganda, £60 will buy a bike which can transform a whole family. African bicycles are basic (one gear only) but very hard wearing and are used to carry numerous family members, enable children to reach school, healthcare workers to get to patients, farmers to carry good to market, etc.
At the time I had just bought a mountain bike, for commuting and recreation. Being winter, my road bike was struggling with the Devon roads (first world troubles!) so I justified a second bike. It seemed wrong that we can spend so much on bikes just for fun when for the price of a pair of tyres a family's life can be changed. Our initial idea was to ride Lake Victoria on African bikes. However, research suggested that would be impossible in the 2 weeks we had available.
Amigos (www.amigos.org.uk) does much more than bikes. They run Kira farm near Kampala with numerous community projects including child sponsorship. Their big thing is about providing hope through vocational training. Each year they take on a group of young people from really difficult backgrounds and train them to return to their communities with a trade and skills they can share. As a result they can help framers to double their crops and have been able to improve the lives of over 40,00 people.
James also suggested that we raise funds for Wings, where he works: www.wingscharity.com. Wings do great work with disadvantaged youth in Bideford, North Devon.
This is an area of poverty where, for many, there is little hope of employment and the cycle of poverty and its associated problems can trap young people. Wings works to run a cafe style youth centre, engage with schools and provide learning opportunities for young people not in employment, education or training. It seemed right to cycle for both charities to help young people at home as well as abroad to escape the cycle of poverty.
I visited Wings back in March to see the work James does. It's really great! It's all run out of an old barn where they have a garage for mechanic training, classrooms and a stack of mountain bikes, kayak,etc to help young people develop themselves through outdoor pursuits. James runs educational courses to up skill basic literacy and numeracy as well as teaching more vocational skills and helping people move towards employment. If only the government did more of this, I'm sure we'd have a lot less of a social divide and young people would feel much less need to resort to crime!
So, please, follow our blog and adventure, but above all give to the charities! We are self funded so everything given (appart from the small admin fee for the mydonate page) goes to Amigos and Wings!!