Fundraiser supplies kids with bikes

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Fundraiser supplies kids with bikes

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Achmat Southgate, a 16-year-old boy from Cape Town, South Africa, has to pay 20 rand (3,270 won) everyday to take a taxi to school. As even the shops are beyond walking distance, his entire family struggles with transportation fees. Like many other South Africans of limited means, they would benefit enormously from having a bicycle.
With the goal of sending 100 bicycles to 100 children in South Africa, Peace Pedalers, an informal, non-profit organization, held a fundraising party yesterday at La Planza, a Spanish restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul. Vanessa Lurie, an English teacher and part-time rider for Peace Pedalers, organized the party, which was attended by about 100 expats and Koreans.
Ms. Lurie, a South African by birth, has stayed here for 18 months as English teacher and will leave for South Africa Feb. 2 to deliver the bicycles and take a three and a half month ride of her own with Jamie Bianchini, founder of Peace Pedalers.
The group, formed by Jamie Bianchini and Garryck Hampton in San Francisco in 2002, aims at spreading peace through bicycling. They ride specially customized tandem bicycles that allow them to give rides to kids and travelers they meet on their journey. The two Pedalers traveled through 18 countries from April 2002 to May 2004, including Korea during the 2002 World Cup, and are now launching the second stage of their trip in Africa and Europe.
“I am so excited. After delivering bicycles, we are going to work based on PRAKS (Peace Pedaler Random Act of Kindness). We will refurnish schools, give kids rides and cooperate with local charity organizations.”
At yesterday’s fundraiser, where people contributed via a 10,000 won ($10) entrance fee or a 40,000 won donation for a bicycle with a personalized card to the kids, enough money was raised to buy 72 bikes. Kim Byung-ick, general manager of PMC Production, donated 10 tickets to the Korean musical Nanta for a charity auction, and Ken Suh, the owner of La Planza, offered the venue and food for free. Vincent Sung, a photographer, plans to travel to South Africa in April to take pictures and is considering making a documentary film. The group keeps an extensive journal of their global odyssey on their handsome Web site: www.peacepedalers.com.


by Kim Soe Jung

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