45 Cyclists Reach the ICC!
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45 Cyclists Covered over 250k in the Netherlands - Ending at the ICC Building in The Hague.

For 2015, we have raised 224,000 USD for the Gaza Mental Health Care Project in partnership with the PCRF - You can still Donate (62,000 USD to go).

Holland 2015

Forty or so Dutch and Palestinian solidarity activists stood waiting for us in the rain as we finally rolled towards our final destination, the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We were trying to send a reminder to the justice enforcers of the world – to remember Gaza, to keep their humanity, to use their power to ensure that the most basic human rights that each person deserves are also extended to the people of Gaza.
Our focus this year has been the dire situation of children’s mental health and wellbeing in Gaza. Children who are eight years or older have already witnessed three rounds of violence, death and destruction. After last summer’s attacks on the Gaza Strip, UNICEF estimated that around 373,000 children had suffered a direct traumatic experience (seeing someone killed or seriously injured, for example, or experiencing a close family loss) and were in need of mental health support. For this reason, we chose to work with the PCRF to launch the Paediatric Mental Health Project in Gaza that will treat these children and that will train social workers inside Gaza to be able to provide them with the support they need.
Our seventh consecutive cycle since 2009 took 45 of us from Alkmaar (outside Amsterdam) to The Hague in three days this July. We weathered rain and storms, slipping and skidding on cobblestones, impressive injuries and bruises, but were also blessed with the flat and beautiful landscape of the Netherlands.
Every year you think you know what to expect from these group rides, and every year a new spirit emerges. This year, an unapologetically female and (Palestinian) Dubai-dominated contingent led the group. Peppered with some Jordanian, some English, Welsh, Kashmiri, Persian, American, and of course Gazan, this made for a dynamic mix. 

Mu'tassem (left) and Adham (right) representing the hope of Palestine
Two moments from the Holland trip spring to mind that capture the essence of this year’s cycle.
The first, as we rode along on the last day, pushing hard to cover the final 40km and reach The Hague within our time limit, is of two or three of our stronger cyclists staying back to keep others who were struggling company, distracting them by talking and cycling alongside them and, when things got particularly tough, extending one hand onto the other’s back and literally giving them a push to see them through the next couple of minutes.

The second was on the evening of our second day, when the whole group of 45 cyclists was scattered everywhere on sofas and on the floor in the hotel lobby, warming up by the fireplace after a stormy and very wet day. Eyes bright, fully engaged, as they listened first to Adnan, our three time cyclist who grew up in the Gaza Strip and whose family still lives there, and then to Mu’tassem, our younger (sorry Adnan) cyclist also from Gaza who lost his leg and a part of his hand at the age of ten when he was hit by an Israeli rocket.

Bonding session around the fire on day 2 of the cycle
In the days following the ride, many of our cyclists told us that they felt more engaged and more deeply connected to the Palestinian cause after those three days. To know that we have the capacity to touch people in this way, to bring them closer to Palestine even from afar, is nothing short of an honour.
We thank the cyclists for their determination and hard work, our charity partner the PCRF for being such an inspiration and for giving us the opportunity to support their critical efforts, the committed activists who waited two hours in the rain to greet us, George who rollerbladed a whole 40km behind us in an act of solidarity for Palestine – and of course, our supporters, donors and friends for making all of this possible. 

George keeping the spirit up and helping us along the 40km to the Hague

 We leave you with an excerpt of a blog post written by one of our cyclists that we felt truly captured the spirit of what we try to do at Cycling4Gaza.
"On those three days I was not me; I was a half Palestinian – half Irish mother of four, a 14 year old cancer survivor from the West Bank, a Welsh Irish wife of an Israeli historian, a spirited Kashmiri from London, an American widower who dedicates his life to help Arab children, a striking Persian psychiatrist that heads the Paediatric Mental Health Project in Gaza. On these three days, I was not me, I was everybody, and for these three days, and for one of the very few times of my life, I had a small glimpse of Palestine; and it was beautiful.”
Warmest regards
The Cycling4Gaza team

A Few Words from Our Cyclists

Dina Dajani - What a ride!!! Epic experience and incredible trip!!!! Where do I begin?

The Palestinian cause â€“ I have always been into it, especially being originally Palestinian in addition to generally being the type of person who is passionate about helping people and advancing the cause of positive change! However, I never got into it as much as I have after this trip! Getting the chance to form friendships with incredible people like Mutasim, an 18 year old from Gaza who lived through 3 wars and lost a leg and fingers on one hand in one of them, and Adham, a 15 year old boy from the West Bank who was treated for Cancer was an experience on its own! These boys were our heroes and inspiration! Listening to their stories and just interacting with them was such an eye opener! .... Continue Reading

Steve Sosebee, Founder and CEO of the PCRF - I've been on a few different adventures with volunteers in Africa and Peru to raise funds and awareness about the work of the PCRF, and each time I end up making new friends and having wonderful experiences. Our trip from north of Amsterdam to The Hague to support a pediatric mental health initiative with Cycling4Gaza not only raised a lot of money to support the treatment and care of children with PTSD following four wars on Gaza in 8 years, but also to train local doctors and other care providers. I promise it rained. Not that it matters, our spirits were not dampened nor did stop us, as we thought of the hundreds of thousands of kids in Gaza who are suffering through much worse than anything we could endure, and that it is our duty to stand with them until they are free.

Carina Aoun - Adham Albalboul and Mutassem Karesh, The true definition of Resilience. We were honored to have both Adham and Mutassem join our trek this year. Being born under occupation and both having gone through difficult health conditions, we learned a lot more from them than they could have ever learn from us. They both mark the true definition of leadership resilience and we watched them cycle their way to the end. See you soon inshallah...Continue Reading

Zein Nimri - I wake up wondering if we’re near mountains because of memory or because of something in the air. We’re in a beautiful old wooden room of a hotel. The sun is shining on the dark wood through the window shade, but even with the shade drawn I can sense that we’re near mountains. There’s mountain air in this room. It’s cool and moist and almost fragrant. One deep breath makes me ready for the next one and then the next one and with each deep breath I feel a little readier until I jump out of bed and pull up the shade and let all that sunlight in...brilliant, cool, bright, sharp and clear."... Continue Reading

Cycling4Gaza in the Spotlight

Cycling4Gaza Coverage in Den Haag FM - Click on the Picture and scroll to minute 5:51 in the video

Snapshots of Cycling4Gaza's 7th Cycle

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