Celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2018, Cycling4Gaza (C4G), an international group of devoted volunteers, are coming back to America this fall. On October 3rd, cyclists from all over the world will join forces for four days to cycle 400km from Boston to NYC in a challenge to raise awareness and $250,000 in much needed funds that will go towards Women’s Empowerment, Community Rehabilitation targeting disabilities among children and adults, and Mental Health support in the Gaza Strip, the three main projects of G4C’s fundraising cycle.
Working directly with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), a reputable humanitarian charity operating in Gaza, each area of action is developed to provide the tools and systems needed to sustainably drive change in the Gaza Strip, an area that continues to suffer from lack of resources and basic human rights. The women’s empowerment project aims to provide 1,890 women with one-to-one counseling sessions; the community rehabilitation project will allow 200 Palestinians with disabilities to attend 2 training workshops focused on capacity building, communication skills and self-confidence; and the mental health support program will engage 300 active members of the Gaza community in an attempt to build up the existing system.
Since its inception Cycling4Gaza has raised over $2 million for vital and sustainable healthcare and education projects in Gaza. These projects have impacted the lives of over 14,000 children and 8,000 families and community members in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps. The backbone of C4G’s annual fundraising initiative has been a group of volunteers dedicated to raise awareness about the ongoing blockade on the Gaza Strip and resources in the promotion of human rights. They have cycled over 3,000 km in ten countries: United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, United States, Netherlands, Norway, and Spain.
Zara Hannoun, the head of Cycling4Gaza, says, “I have always believed that individuals that can make a difference should. After visiting the Gaza Strip in March, those words could not have meant more. The people living in Gaza, despite their dire circumstances and limited access to all basic human needs, simply give; they give love and support to their families, they give care and aid to their friends and neighbors and they give their lives for their freedom. How can we not do more?
Dina Dajani, who has been at the core of the initiative for the last three years, says, “Joining the C4G committee made me realize my enthusiasm and dedication towards working for a cause, that I define success by putting a smile on a child’s face, and gave me a sense of accomplishment from bringing people together to make a difference. C4G continuously engages increasing numbers of people to support an important humanitarian cause and the best part is – it provides children and adults in Gaza with some tools and essentials to a better quality of life. Moved and inspired by the impact that this initiative has on everyone involved, C4G has pushed me to pursue a career that has a social impact. I feel both proud and honored to be a part of this initiative!”
The fundraising cycle will begin from Dayville, Connecticut, on October 4th at 10:00 am, cycling 89 km to New London, Connecticut. From there, on day 2 the 70 km cycle will be to Stony Brook, in New York . On day 3, an 87 km cycle to Staten Island and on Sunday October 7th, the final day of the cycle, will be a 100 km ride to NYC, aiming to finish at the UN building at 14:00 followed by Washington Square at 15:00.