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Tour de Tuli: cycling for a noble cause

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Schools from Beitbridge and Gwanda received a major boost on Saturday when they received 200 lap desks from a non-profit making international organisation running the annual Tour de Tuli-Mapungubwe cycling race.

The lap desks were bought from part of the proceeds from the Children in the Wilderness-organised international cycling tour that took place in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation area in Beitbridge from Thursday to Sunday.

The event was also organised with the assistance Environment and Natural Resources Management minister Francis Nhema and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

Chairman of the event, Malcom McCulloch, who also heads the Children in the Wilderness Safaris, said their major aim was to help the impoverished schools in the rural areas.

“Essentially, our target is the rural schools that have been impoverished because of many reasons. The more they get help, the better for their future.

“ In 2009, we organised this race through the Tuli-Maramani-Mapungubwe areas and there was an overwhelming response from the cycling community. The proceeds of all this will go towards these communities in Maramani, and slowly we want to make a difference,” McCulloch said.

Nhema said:“I am aware that part of the proceeds of this tour will go towards educating vulnerable rural children on the importance of wildlife conservation while teaching them necessary life skills to enable them to achieve their greatest potential.

“I am humbled by your noble cause for which you are doing this. The lap desks I received are a symbolic gesture of the appreciation on the part of the organisers.

The donation comes in the wake of efforts by other stakeholders to try and assist in the rehabilitation of the Shashe Irrigation scheme for the Maramani community”.

The event is operated by Tour de Wilderness, an umbrella brand that manages and coordinates various fundraising tours with Children in the Wilderness as its sole beneficiary.

Children in the Wilderness has been operating for nine years and bridges the divide that exists between the communities that live alongside some of Africa’s most wonderful wild places and the wildlife within these reserves by focusing on the next generation of rural decision makers.

The cyclists traverse Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa and three national parks: the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Tuli Circle Safari Area and Mapungubwe National Park.

Twenty-seven cyclists came from Britain and 15 from America, while cyclists from Zimbabwe, Australia, Botswana, Malawi, Slovakia, Namibia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Seychelles, Spain and Switzerland also joined in the fun.

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