Planting Seeds in Rwanda – The Film
In May 2021, members of the Israel Start-Up Nation team traveled to Rwanda to participate in the largest race in Africa, the Tour du Rwanda.
But it was not just a bicycle race for the only Israeli professional cycling team that will, this coming Saturday, compete on the world stage for the second time in its history at the Tour de France.
For Israel Start-Up Nation, the biggest highlight of the trip to Rwanda took place in Bugesera, a province that is made up of several villages not far from the capital, Kigali, where the only women’s cycling team in the country was recently founded.
The ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, where a genocide took place only 27 years ago, is a land of contrasts. It is a dizzying beauty that does not hide its poverty; a scarred country whose mass graves and memories still haunt its inhabitants. But it is also strongly determined to build a better future.
Bicycles are a way of life in Rwanda. They are a means of subsistence, and often, the key to subsistence – a means of traveling to school or earning a livelihood. In Bugasera, only a few of the school’s 1,400 students can afford a bicycle.
This was the place to launch Racing for Change.
Since its founding six years ago, the team’s vision has always been to change the reality of cycling in Israel and provide an opportunity for the next generation of young Israelis to realize their dreams of becoming professional riders. Now, as one of the largest professional cycling teams in the world, ISN believes it has a right and a duty to harness its capabilities to assist in new areas and spaces.
Bugasera was a natural first stop for this initiative. The team came to the village to launch the project by adopting the women’s cycling team, providing them with technical support and expertise, and helping to grant more young people in the village access to bicycles.
This 33-minute documentary follows the team’s journey to Rwanda – at the race, in the village, during meetings, and while training with the young riders. This is an exciting and inspiring film, optimistic, and, most importantly, presents the humanity behind the magical dream that sees cycling as an opportunity for a better life.
Israel Start-Up Nation will compete in the Tour de France under the banner of “Racing for Change” and is committed to other social ventures in the same vein, including in the areas of bicycle safety and the environment.
The documentary, directed by Noam Chojnowski, will premier on Sports Channel 5 in Israel on Thursday, June 24 at 19:30 IDT.