It is that time of year again, and Cycling4Gaza is gearing up for its next challenge. As many of you know, we have organised five cycles since 2009, covering over 1800km across the UK and France, Italy, Jordan, Turkey and Germany, with a sixth cycle just around the corner. We have raised over 650,000 GBP in support of healthcare and education projects in the Gaza Strip and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Together with our wonderful charity partners, we have directly impacted the lives of over 8,000 children in projects focused on early childhood education, mental health support and psychosocial work, rehabilitation for children with disabilities, and maternal and child healthcare. Your passion and support continue to give us the inspiration we need to make a positive difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable Palestinians.
The Palestinian Childrenâ€™s Relief Fund (PCRF) is one such charity partner that has worked tirelessly to implement healthcare projects across the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The PCRF, a non-profit, non-political medical relief organisation, was founded in 1991 by concerned people who were looking for ways to contribute to the humanitarian needs of children under Israeli military occupation. Over the past twenty-two years, the PCRF has treated 10,000 children through direct surgery carried out by hundreds of visiting teams of doctors and specialists from all over the world. The PCRF has also sent over 1,000 children from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq for free surgery in North and South America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the Middle East.
In 2013, the Palestinian Childrenâ€™s Relief Fund launched the REACH (Reaching Every Affected Child in Gaza) Gaza Project in partnership with us. The long-term aim of the REACH project is to support every child in need of serious medical care in the Gaza Strip. Last year, together with our 39 cyclists, and thanks to the commitment of our supporters, friends and families, we raised over 150,000 GBP which supported the treatment and care of 270 children through the REACH project. The funds raised will continue to treat more children throughout 2014.
Steve Sosebee, founder of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF), talks about the REACH Gaza project:
The partnership between the Palestine Childrenâ€™s Relief Fund and Cycling4Gaza has resulted in a new era of healthcare services being provided to the 1.7 million Palestinians living under siege in the Gaza Strip. In 2012, before the relationship with the PCRF and Cycling4Gaza, there were 18 volunteer surgery teams that went to Gaza through the PCRF. In 2013, we more than doubled the number of medical missions to Gaza, thanks to the support and assistance of Cycling4Gaza through the REACH Gaza, Reaching Every Affected Child in Gaza, project. In addition, in April 2013 we started a new project in Gaza to build up the pediatric cardiac surgery services for children born with heart disease. This project aims to identify sick babies and provide them the life-saving surgery that they need, but which is not available to them locally, as well as to train the local doctors and nurses as a way to upgrade the quality of care in Gaza.
In 2013, Cycling4Gaza, with the efforts of our fantastic cyclists and supporters, raised $250,000. 53% of these funds directly resulted in:
The treatment of 237 children in Gaza
Through the work of 17 volunteer international medical teams
Caring for children in need of cardiac, orthopaedic and general medical treatment
The funds also allowed:
The development of the first medical database in Gaza with 496 children cases registered
The remaining funds will be used to continue providing essential medical treatment to the children in Gaza, in addition to all the funds raised in 2014. With these two cycles we aim to support the REACH Gaza project up to the end of 2015; caring for over 1000 children in Gaza.