Israel – Premier Tech today reveals a special edition kit for the Tour de France to launch its ambitious worldwide fundraising campaign to support the youth of Rwanda. IPT calls on cycling fans across the globe to donate and support its initiative to build a bike center, the ‘Field of Dreams’ to help change the lives of thousands of Rwandan youth.
Plans for the Field of Dreams bike center include a pump track, race track, and future cycling academy built on 16 acres of land deep in the Bugesera district of Rwanda. The completed complex will offer 120,000 students in the Bugesera district, between the ages of 6 and 18, the opportunity to take up biking and to develop their skills, thrive, and achieve success through cycling. The team describes this as the next giant leap of the Racing for Change project it launched last year when it “adopted” the only women’s cycling team in Rwanda and initiated a social riding program for kids in the district.
“As I’ve often expressed, Israel – Premier Tech is more than a cycling team. We follow the ancient Jewish imperative of “Tikkun Olam”, roughly translated as ‘improving our world’. As such, we look at this project as organic to our mission,” said Israel – Premier Tech owner Sylvan Adams. “We are hoping to engage the entire global cycling community to donate and help us build this necessary cycling infrastructure in Africa. What better way to unveil this ambitious campaign than at the most important event on our cycling calendar, the Tour de France where we can unite all cycling fans to get behind the wonderful Rwandan youth who deserve it so much.”
“For me, growing up in Kenya, the bike was always about freedom. It was my way of getting around, my transport. The bike was my opportunity to experience the world around me. We didn’t have pump tracks, velodromes, or anything like that. Growing up and experiencing cycling in that way, with no real infrastructure or support for youngsters growing up, has really made me want to get behind a project like this. One that is offering an opportunity like this to youngsters who are interested in cycling to be able to follow their dreams,” added four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Inspired by the Racing for Change project, the IPT Tour de France jersey, designed by Stijn Dossche (stycle.design), celebrates the colors of the rich soil and lush greenery that brightens the landscape of the ‘land of a thousand hills’, and features the Rwandan art form Imigongo as the hero of the jersey design.
Developing the next generation of Rwandan
The impact of the first phase of the Racing for Change project was immediately felt as the women’s team progressed quickly under the supervision of Israel – Premier Tech coaches and staff. The introduction of professional know-how, equipment, and training directly attributed to the inspiring story of Aline Uwera. 16-year-old Uwera became the first female Rwandan cyclist to finish on the podium of the African championships and was subsequently dubbed the “daughter of hope” by the media.
As the women’s team continues to improve, Israel – Premier Tech plans to take on the challenge of establishing the bike center on a large piece of land in the Community of Hope, an education hub for children founded by Serge Gasore. Gasore was eight years old when he miraculously survived the massacre that took place in a nearby church where family members and thousands of other helpless Tutsis took refuge during the Rwandan genocide and were ruthlessly murdered. Years later, he returned to the region and developed the Community of Hope for all children, regardless of their origins.
Serge Gasore: “To see the impact of the team’s Racing for Change project on those young girls, the sense of empowerment and self-confidence it has instilled in them; the smiles on the faces of kids that did not have a chance to ever ride bikes for fun that can now ride together was astonishing. So, why not have thousands of ‘daughters and sons of hope’? With the Field of Dreams, we can make that happen!”
A cycling center as an engine of change
The proposed Field of Dreams bike center enjoys the full support of Bugesera’s Mayor, Richard Mutabazi, whose district consists of 566 villages home to half a million residents, many of them connected by roads that would benefit from an increase in cycling infrastructure.
Richard Mutabazi: “This unprecedented initiative promises to have a huge effect on the new generation of Bugesera and possibly all of Rwanda, well beyond cycling. We envision the infrastructure being built for this “Field of Dreams” will drive economic and social progress.”
According to plans drawn up by the team, the first phase of building will include a pump track and a 1.2 km race and training track. After that, the plans include delivering bikes and establishing a cycling academy to train bike mechanics, coaches, and guides – empowering the next generation of Rwandan youth to excel and develop their skills.
Estimates for the first phase, including the pump track, which will be built by Swiss company Velosolutions (the world leader in asphalt pump tracks), and the bike track, are approximately 300,000 euros. Money raised beyond this amount will contribute to more bikes for the community, ongoing maintenance, and a future cycling academy.
A call to action to the global cycling
community and beyond
IPT is calling upon cyclists and cycling fans from around the world to take part in building the bike center. The team, including owners, riders, and staff, is leading the way with donations and their commitment to raising funds on the unique platform that was launched today: www.bit.ly/FODIPT
A sign of its commitment, the team has declared that it will match every donation to the Field of Dreams above and beyond the donations made by owners and riders. Additionally, prizes will be given to all donors regardless of the size of the donation, with special prizes which include the limited-edition TDF jersey and a custom painted TDF Factor bike.