Rwanda - Burundi 2011

In November 2011 Brussels Airlines organized the first edition of “Bike for Africa”, a mountainbike trip of about 300 km from Kigali to Bujumbura. We raised a total of 93,000 euro for SOS Children’s Villages in Rwanda, Burundi and the other 19 Brussels Airlines destinations in Africa.

In November 2011 Brussels Airlines organized the first edition of “Bike for Africa”, a mountainbike trip of about 300 km from Kigali (Rwanda) to Bujumbura (Burundi). From 11th to 16th November, a group of about 50 Brussels Airlines people together with a support team and some sponsors biked from Kigali (Rwanda) to Bujumbura (Burundi), a trip of 280 km through the “land of the 1.000 hills”.

In the first edition of Bike for Africa we raised a total of 93,000 euro for SOS Children’s Villages in Rwanda, Burundi and the other 19 Brussels Airlines destinations in Africa. The aid was used for the continued supply of necessary medical care to vulnerable children. The sum of 93.000 euro covered more than 10.000 medical consultations for the poorest in the African communities.

The adventure started in the SOS Children’s Village of Kigali and ends 5 days later in the SOS Children’s Village of Bujumbura. Furthermore, the group also brought goods to villages, clinics and projects along the way, as well as 100 bikes that were distributed locally, a precious economic asset in the African society. Le Beau Velo de Ravel, in collaboration with the Walloon waste disposal companies and l’Ecole St Luc of Liege, recycled and refurbished 2nd hand bikes (e.g. from container parks) in order to give them a second life and contribute to a cleaner environment. The bikes are made from metal and can be assembled and repaired, a task for local technicians or youngsters with a technical education. A teacher from l’Ecole St Luc and 2 students installed a workplace in the SOS centre upfront in order to train the local people on how to repair the bikes. This allowed the local technicians to perform the maintenance of the bikes, so that they are a genuine added value.

In no time the participation list was completed, a clear sign that this project lies close to the heart of many people. Apart from this charitable effort, highly appreciated by the local communities and authorities, the event was a huge success in many other aspects: a great physical challenge, enjoying the unique African landscape, being welcomed by hundreds of enthusiast people in the villages crossed, and above all a fantastic team building event.

Jali, a Belgian singer, was the godfather of Bike for Africa I. Jali, (his official name being Jean-Pierre Ntwali) is a rising star of 24 in Belgium. He discovered music when he visited Rwanda, the country where he was born, and where he has lived during 2 years as an adolescent. Back in Belgium, he dedicated himself to his passion and started writing and composing his first songs under the name “Jali”, the name of a hill in Rwanda. Jali accepted to be the godfather of Bike for Africa I and together with his manager Mike he joined our adventure. This biking trip was broadcasted in a programme on RTBF (“Le Beau Vélo de Ravel”).

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