Gang of Four members display the UNICEF banner at Kilometer 0 of their expedition in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada on September 1, 2012
The Gang displays the same UNICEF banner in Key West, Florida on September 15, 2012 after having ridden 6,411 kilometers across America – diagonally!
In the course of planning the Gang of Four’s expedition to Tierra del Fuego, we decided to do something “outside ourselves” to benefit folks living in the countries to which we would be traveling. This led to a search for a suitable charity, something that was credible and which had operations in Latin America. There are thousands of charities in Canada, and a surprisingly large number of these carry out projects in one or more locations in Latin America.
But on closer examination it became apparent that many were either very small operations or indeed largely inactive. A significant exception was UNICEF Canada. It is a program of the United Nations based in New York that develops community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children in hundreds of countries and territories around the world. UNICEF raises billions of dollars every year from governments and more than six million individuals. More than 90 percent of their revenue is directed to programs to help children, and staff compensation and benefits are based on a standardized UN “Common System”. Another selling feature was UNICEF Canada’s on-line donation system, which allows donors to make secure on-line payments using credit cards directly through the Gang of Four’s fundraising page, which can be accessed at: http://tinyurl.com/5rdfldh
I’m a tad embarrassed to say that when deciding on UNICEF we had forgotten that it was the same charitable organization that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman had elected to support for their famous “Long Way” rides. So I was delighted when Olivia Klej, our helpful and supportive Community Engagement Coordinator at UNICEF Canada in Toronto, provided me with four black UNICEF hoodies and reminded me that they were “the same kind Ewan McGregor wore in Long Way round”.
Due to our collective efforts, but in particular those of Dogcow, we have succeeded in reaching our fundraising goal of $10,000 for UNICEF. We are particularly enthused that UNICEF has agreed to direct the funds we raise to the Peru Micronutrient Project, which is helping to improve child nutrition in that country in ways critical to proper early childhood development. While we have met our official fundraising goal, as this is a very worthwhile initiative we encourage anyone reading this to consider making a contribution – or perhaps even a further contribution – to our UNICEF fundraiser by visiting our fundraising page at http://tinyurl.com/5rdfldh Those who may be reading this post on the UNICEF blog or anywhere other than the Gang of Four blog may wish to learn more about our adventure by visiting our blog at www.go4south.com
Thanks to everyone who has to date contributed so generously to our UNICEF fundraiser, as well as to those who may do so in future.
The Big Easy