UAE cyclists to help Gaza children

Ten cyclists from the UAE have joined the next Cycling4Gaza challenge in the US

Gulf News

Dubai: Ten cyclists from the UAE will cycle across the US in September to raise money to treat injured and ill children in Gaza.

In collaboration with The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), a US medical relief organisation, Cycling4Gaza, is preparing for the 370km ride from Philadelphia to Washington DC this year with an aim to raise at least $250,000 (Dh918,300) to fund the REACH Gaza initiative.

The ten cyclists will take part in the sixth edition of the cycling trip that will take place from September 18-21, along with other international volunteers.

Miral Alaraj, a 27-year-old Palestinian who is coordinating the event here from the UAE, believes that due to the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza and with the rise in the number of children wounded, increasing funds is crucial.

“The situation in Gaza has put a huge strain on the health-care system there, and this is why we will need to collect as much as possible this time. We really hope we can exceed our target,” she said.

Alaraj, who will also be cycling with the team, added that each of the cyclists is currently trying to collect a minimum of $2,000 (Dh7,346) through various means such as running fund-raising pages and organising different community efforts.

One of the other volunteers from the UAE, Tala Qareen, Palestinian, 30, said that this is her very first time to do anything like this, but her desire to help treat the children in Gaza has driven her to do her most to provide the help.

“I have been feeling very angry and emotional lately about what’s happening in Gaza, especially after seeing many videos on TV and online. It makes me cry to see this happening and makes me want to do anything to help those children,” said Tala.

Tala, like the other cyclists in the team, decided to create a fund-raising page to raise the money and use social media to raise awareness about the REACH Gaza initiative.

“By using social media to spread the word, a lot of people have been donating, and I have already exceeded the money I was supposed to collect,” she said.

“There are many generous people out there and, with the help of their donations, I have met my goal and even more.”

Cycling4Gaza has succeeded in raising over $1.1 million through their campaigns and has been able to support several health-care and education projects with the money.

The 2014 cycle registration has already been closed, but donations can still be made through the team’s website www.pcrf.net/cycling4gaza.

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