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On Yer Bike!

by Gerry Lynch last modified 15 Jun, 2017 05:00 PM

Wilts and Hants Churches Help African Friends

A group of churches in South Wiltshire and the New Forest is helping counterparts in one of the world’s poorest countries with the ultimate transport solution for rural Africa: the bicycle.

Churches in the Chalke Deanery raised a whopping £12,000 in Lent for the remote Diocese of Cueibet in South Sudan, with which they are in a special twinning arrangement.

This has been used to buy 40 specially toughened bicycles, currently awaiting shipment in the Nairobi warehouse of World Bicycle Relief, the charity which makes them.

Geoff Taylor, the local churchgoer who helped organise the project, said,  “'Chalke Deanery has had a link with the people of Cueibet and their Bishop, Elijah, for four years. This partnership has developed through exchange visits, prayer, and financial support for projects in Cueibet.

“This is a very remote area, where the main road is a dirt track. Bicycles are the most economic and efficient means of transport.

“These bikes are specially designed and assembled to handle rough terrain by World Bicycle Relief. They will be a great asset to the clergy and people of the diocese – they are used to travel distances and carry loads that few people here would imagine possible.

“Cueibet is currently one of the more peaceful areas of South Sudan, but it is exceptionally poor. Despite the level of poverty, people in Cueibet have been extraordinarily generous in accommodating people fleeing fighting in other areas. This is the sort of place where simple low-cost steps can make a huge differences to raising living standards and, through that, even preventing conflict.

“The generosity of our communities has been inspiring. It gives us great encouragement as we move on to our next project in Cueibet, enlarging the church primary school.”

As well as this project, the Diocese raised £82,000 for famine relief in South Sudan during Lent and further major projects have been funded by churches in Salisbury and Devizes. Another major fundraiser, this time for medical training and supplies in Sudan and South Sudan, will be the Summer Fete taking place in the Bishop’s house, South Canonry this Sunday 16 June from 2-5 pm.

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