A team of 14 lads including graduate/assistant project manager Michael Tarplee cycled 500 miles across 5 countries in 4 days between June 11th and June 15th 2014 the purpose of this bike ride was too raise money for a charity called ChallengeAid who work tirelessly to support disadvantaged children in some of the world’s most appalling slumps in Africa. The ride started in Belgium, Liege moving on too Maastricht, Germany (Cologne, Luxembourg and finishing in France (Reims and Paris), the challenge entitled The Big 500 was unbelievable with beautiful, breathe taking scenery, cycling through the champagne region of France and the winding very steep hills of the Cologne forest.
The purpose of the bike ride is help ChallengeAid take children out of poverty through education in some of the slums of Nairobi. This unique concept is both an alternative and complementary type of education which allows many children who are unable to attend school during the day to be able to continue their studies at night through our Schools of Hope programme. Students aged between 11 and 18, most of whom live in single roomed shacks without lighting come together in a School of Hope to study from 6‐8pm, five days a week. ChallengeAid funding supports the provision of primary and secondary text books, desks and chairs, secure library space and electric lighting. The Schools of Hope provide a safe and structured study environment with additional benefits for its students of regular life skills lectures on topics such as substance abuse and HIV/AIDS awareness. They are staffed by volunteers, many of whom are trained teachers, and they maintain close contact with a parents’ committee formed from within the community. After the study time there are also music and drama sessions, and at weekends there are often sports matches against other Schools of Hope in a variety of sports.
To date the cyclist have raised over £10,000 (still raising) which will go straight towards building new schools of hope, It has definitely been an experience I will never forget and after completing such a challenging and testing adventure, learning about the purpose of the charity I now have the bug to continuing cycling and rising money for such a great cause. More information can be found at the following links;