In 4 days Cycling4Gaza (C4G), the global fundraising phenomena on a mission raising funds and awareness for the children of Gaza, is cycling 300km from Alkmaar, Netherlands to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for their 2015 cycle! C4G is dedicated to raising $286,000 to support the launch and running of the newly launched Pediatric Mental Health Project in Gaza for a year.
In their press release (below) C4G states, “The Hague was selected for this year’s final destination in light of Palestine joining as an official member of the International Criminal Court, whose headquarters lie in The Hague”. And they’re launching off on July 24th, cycling during the one year anniversary of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza last summer and auspiciously the one month anniversary of Palestinian leaders ceremoniously handing over a war crimes dossier to the ICC.
Heading into their 7th year, 2015 C4G’s international group of volunteers include cyclers from Palestine, France, Canada, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Jordan, Lebanon, UK, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Netherlands and America. They continue to expand their global reach and fundraising goals while spreading awareness about the children in Gaza – where 400,000 are in critical need of psychological support.
Check out this wonderful video by C4G cycler Kareem Salman:
The 50 participants for the Hague cycle, ranging in age from 14 to 68 years old, have already collectively raised $180,000 so far this year — with a target of $200,000 before taking off.
Cyclists include 18-year-old Mutussam Abu Karsh from Gaza. Mondoweiss readers will recall Abu Karsh, one of two teenage amputees who, wearing prosthetic limbs, miraculously trekked up Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro on The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund‘s historic Climb of Hope in 2014.
Adham Balboul from Khadar village near Bethlehem will also be on C4G 2015 Hague cycle. Balboui, just 14 years old, is a PCRF cancer patient, treated at The Huda Al Masri Pediatric Cancer Deptartment, built by the PCRF in Beit Jala Government Hospital in the West Bank.
Mondoweiss readers may recall Cycling4Gaza’s 2014 ‘Brotherly Love’ cycle from Philly to the Washington Monument last year, their first US cycle. They’ve raised a staggering sum for a tiny organization initiated by four young friends hanging posters on London streets to recruit fellow cyclists for their first trek from London to Paris. From bake sales to pot lucks and garage sales (plus online outreach), these cyclists mean serious business. And now they’re off to The Hague!
Just. Wow. I’d love to be there when they arrive.
C4G press release: 300km Fundraising Cycle for the Children of Gaza
One year on since Israel’s 50-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip, 50 cyclists from across the world will join Cycling4Gaza’s (“C4G”) seventh annual bike ride that kicks off this July in the Netherlands. Two young boys from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (a double amputee and a cancer patient) are amongst the cyclists who will pedal +300km from Alkmaar to The Hague to raise $286,000 for the Gaza Mental healthcare project in partnership with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (“PCRF”).
On July 24th, 50 cyclists from all over the world will come together for three days to cycle from Alkmaar to The Hague in an effort to raise awareness and funds in support of a unique mental health care program for children. The program will train social workers in the Gaza Strip on how to identify children that require mental care, conduct the necessary screenings, and provide those children with the treatment they require through collaborations with other local organizations.
The Hague was selected for this year’s final destination in light of Palestine joining as an official member of the International Criminal Court, whose headquarters lie in The Hague, in April 2015. The C4G team hopes to bring attention to the ongoing crisis situation in Gaza, the continued blockade on its people, and in particular the dire need to provide mental health support to children there, most of whom have already witnessed three wars. (Unicef estimates 373,000 children in Gaza have had traumatic experiences and are in desperate need of psycho‐social support).
Joining the team of cyclists are Dr. Bahar Hashemi, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology certified psychiatrist, current lead of the Gaza Mental Healthcare project, as well as Steve Sosebee, founder and CEO of the PCRF. To inspire us even further; two PCRF patients, 18 year old double amputee Mutussam Abu Karsh from Gaza and 14 year old Adham Balboul cancer patient from the West Bank, will be cycling with us.
This will be Cycling4Gaza’s seventh annual global initiative. Since 2009, C4G has held yearly fundraising bike rides across Europe, the Middle East, and the US, attracting over 200 passionate individuals from various corners of the world. To date, Cycling4Gaza has raised over U.S. $ 1.34 million for sustainable healthcare and education projects, in partnership with Medical Aid for Palestinians, The Welfare Association, and The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. These projects have impacted the lives of over 9,600 children and 5,000 families and community members in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps.