Students and staff on their bikes to support community forestry initiative

A whole-school fundraising challenge tasks students and staff with virtually travelling 9,000km across the African Sahel region in support of a community forestry initiative.

Dave Mellor, left, and Michael Truss, right
Dave Mellor, left, and Michael Truss, right

The route will take students and staff at Concord College from Dakar to Djibouti, traversing 14 countries and encountering four great rivers en-route.

All funds raised will go to Concord’s charity Soil of Amhara, whose key aim is to release the potential of young people in the impoverished Amhara region of Ethiopia and, specifically, towards a community forestry initiative to supplement rural incomes and restore native woodland.

Money will also be going to rural primary schools to improve their building facilities.

It is hoped by the organisers that Concord will raise £5,000 which will enable them to plant the forest and help three more schools in the region.

The latest fundraising challenge, ‘Ride the Great Green Wall’, was launched by the college principal Dr Michael Truss and local cycling legend Dave Mellor.

Together they covered 15km on cycling bikes outside Concord’s main hall as the student body and staff gathered, spectated and supported.

‘Ride the Great Green Wall’ is the second whole-school challenge following last year’s virtual cycle to Lalibela Primary School in Ethiopia.

That challenge, ‘Pedal 4 Lalibela’, was an 8,672km route that was cycled and rowed covering no fewer than 14 countries as well as the English Channel and Red Sea, and surpassed £3,500.

This was enough to refurbish four classrooms and other school facilities for the 1,900 students studying at Lalibela.

Speaking of last year’s event, Mr Mellor said: “It was a great shame that not all students could attend or spectate last year because of Covid-19. So having everyone attend this time is extra special.

“To get the whole school out together, cheering and celebrating this meaningful initiative, is fantastic – it certainly makes you want to try that little bit more.”

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