Cycling4Gaza heads to the Hague

Middle East
on 19 Comments

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.

Cycling4Gaza 2014/Photo by: Yahya Sultan

Cycling4Gaza 2014/Photo by: Yahya Sultan

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.

14 year old Adham Balboul get a brand new bike from Palestine Children's Relief Fund/Photo: C4G/PCRF

14 year old Adham Balboul get a brand new bike from Palestine Children’s Relief Fund/Photo: C4G/PCRF

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.

For detailed information on fundraising history and for visual accounts of each of the challenges, visit Cycling4Gaza. To find out how to greet them at their arrival at The Hague email them at [email protected] .

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About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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19 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    July 20, 2015, 11:31 am

    i highly recommend both the videos — and Kareem Salman’s sound track – that’s from one of mohammed assaf’s live shows, possibly the one in bethlehem. so inspirational ;)

    (and check out 11 min into Mutussam Abu Karsh’s video “i got injured in 2005 when a suspicious object blew up in our house”)

    also, just thought i’d mention, i’m a huge fan of PCFR — truly miracle workers.

  2. amigo
    July 20, 2015, 11:32 am

    A cause well worth donating to.These people deserve as much financial support as we can give .They do the heavy lifting compared to us just having to hit the “donate” button on our laptop.

    Thanks Annie ,for bringing the opportunity to participate , even if only in a small way.

    Btw, I would love to watch the videos but as I live in the boon docks , my signal is too weak to support video and it gets tiring watching the “Loading ” sign for far too long.Ever since the “Celtic Tiger” upped and left we are still waiting for our gov to roll out “high speed internet” country wide.Still, very little to complain about, compared to those in Gaza/West Bank.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 20, 2015, 11:45 am

      amigo, last year, about a month after the first article, one of the founders was in the bay area and she got in touch and we went on a hike. just an amazingly beautiful smart young woman tamara ben hamlin. only about 25 yrs or so. just gorgeous. anyway, i found out many (most) of these young cyclers are diaspora palestinians. not sure why that’s something they don’t advertise, but i don’t think they keep it a secret either.

      and to think they’ve already raised so much — it’s really mindboggling. and thanks, yeah i hope people feel the urge to participate (donate) in any way they can. if i was in europe i’d be very tempted to head over to the hague on the 27th and party with them for sure.

      • amigo
        July 20, 2015, 12:20 pm

        “if i was in europe i’d be very tempted to head over to the hague on the 27th and party with them for sure.”Annie.

        Me too Annie but I am presently nursing my Dog (guess his name?) who is sadly terminally ill and I don,t know how long he will last.So no trips for me for a while, (long while, I hope) .

        Palestinian Disapora do not forget who they are and never will .

      • Annie Robbins
        July 20, 2015, 1:17 pm

        oh no, i know how hard it is to lose a best friend, it’s been years since my wiz died and i can’t bear to get another after going thru the end with him. but i may soon. one of my closest friends – her little dog just died. i think he was about 18. and our wonderful kate just lost her very best friend tessie (a cat).

        if you had not written “his” name i would have guessed – annie? ;) but i have no idea. what is his name?

      • amigo
        July 20, 2015, 1:41 pm

        “if you had not written “his” name i would have guessed – annie? ;) but i have no idea. what is his name? “.

        Sorry to hear about wiz , (was he a bleeding heart liberal also) and Kate,s tessie.

        Also sorry to disappoint you but his name is Amigo. So say hello to “My leeetle friend”.(Scarface–the movie)

        No , I will not change my moniker.He will live forever in the MW archives.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 20, 2015, 2:07 pm

        ohhh amigo. hang in there, there’s not much you can do — unfortunately they just don’t live forever. ;(

  3. bintbiba
    July 20, 2015, 4:23 pm

    Well done, C4G

    Congratulations.

    Onwards and Upwards, always….

  4. Bornajoo
    July 20, 2015, 5:24 pm

    “A cause well worth donating to.These people deserve as much financial support as we can give .They do the heavy lifting compared to us just having to hit the “donate” button on our laptop.”

    Ditto Amigo!

    I just hit the donate button.

    Terrific C4G!

    Many thanks for bringing this to our attention Annie

    • Annie Robbins
      July 21, 2015, 11:26 am

      oh thank you bornajoo. as far as i am concerned PCRF is the best valued charity in the world. there are so many health professionals who volunteer their time and skills to PCRF (including, cumulatively, hundreds from the US) you really get a bang for your buck when you donate to them — that’s the way i look at it.

      i spent one day volunteering with them in Lebanon at Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp w/2 (wonderful) doctors from the US (who flew over during their thanksgiving weekend – talk about dedication), a beirut coordinator from PCRF along w/local social workers and care givers – all volunteers- treating severely in need patients. and PCRF does this ALL THE TIME.

  5. Bornajoo
    July 21, 2015, 12:12 pm

    Thanks again Annie. I’ll definitely be following PCRF more closely from now on, especially after that personal endorsement from you.

  6. Annie Robbins
    July 26, 2015, 5:36 pm

    everybody, they arrived!!

    • Annie Robbins
      July 26, 2015, 5:37 pm

      and thanks to Dutch, who was there and sent me the photo!!!

    • Bornajoo
      July 26, 2015, 5:38 pm

      Fantastic! Congratulations to you all and great work!

      Thanks for letting us know Annie

      • Annie Robbins
        July 26, 2015, 5:58 pm

        isn’t it amazing! i have been following the trip all weekend. i am so in awe of them, and such wonderful people to get to know. someday i want to join them on one of their annual trips. at least when they arrive. did you see the video? omg how climatic is that, after all the rain..

      • Bornajoo
        July 26, 2015, 6:04 pm

        Just saw the video Annie. Terrific. I would also love to join them one day. It would be an amazing thing to do

  7. Annie Robbins
    July 26, 2015, 5:46 pm

    and here is a great video of their arrival — it’s so wonderful!

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=934832289888627&set=vb.212983058740224&type=2&theater

    • just
      July 26, 2015, 6:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Annie, Dutch, these fantastic people of C4G and PCRF !

      Sure beats the Tour de France, imho!

  8. bintbiba
    July 26, 2015, 6:37 pm

    Well Done, C4G,
    Very impressive !

    Thank you, annie, I’m sure you’ll keep us appraised of their future plans and wonderful exploits!

    Congratulations , all !!

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