Bikes for the World

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Removing Pedals and Prejudices

Keith Oberg working with CFP in 2011
In addition to our work overseas, one of the aspects of our program at Bikes for the World that we are most proud of is the community service projects we create right here in DC. We work with Eagle Scout candidates, Rotary clubs, school groups, companies...just about all walks of life.

But it's groups like the recent one that came out to help load at Lorton that really cause us to pause and realize the scope of benefit Bikes for the World generates from our work. Loadings are a great Team Building activity we offer to a variety of groups. Team-building with Bikes for the World is a powerful way to unite a group that also offers a sense of accomplishment and greater good. Develop communication skills, build confidence, and identify weaknesses all while providing life altering transportation to remote villages across the globe.

Cyprus youth teams coming together
Meet the Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP). For several years CFP has been partnering with BfW every summer to help load bikes to ship overseas to transform lives. What is important to note, however, is how this activity is transforming their own lives.

The Cyprus Friendship Program offers a unique experience for teens living amongst the prejudices of the deeply divided Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot island of Cyprus. The goal is to introduce both sides to each other and help them recognize commonalities while dispelling a hatred that spans almost 40 years since its civil war.

CFP takes teens from both sides of the divide and partners them together in a year long program that teaches them how to work together. This program is proof that peace IS possible and offers inspiration and hope to the island of Cyprus.

During the summer, the Cypriot youth pairs are hosted by American families for the month of July to further promote friendship and understanding among these two divided groups. The hope is to provide a model elsewhere in the Middle East.

It's about more than just a bike
The youth pairs are sent to 6 different areas in the US, two of which are right here in the DC area. BfW Board Member, Tom McCarthy, has been bringing a Cypriot group of about 20 teens to help BfW load containers and process bikes for shipping for several years now.

 "Before we give the several pairs in the DC area training in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building, it's important to further break down their caution about the teens from the other side and build them into a team. The Bikes for the World experience has been perfect for this. It allowed the teens to spend the better part of a day achieving the goal of loading a shipping container together," said McCarthy, who is also a CFP Maryland/DC Coordinator.

“….you are doing one of the best jobs in the world. You are helping, sending bikes to people that you don’t know who they are…” Halil Leelener, participant, Cyprus Friendship Program
“Thank you so much for organizing Bikes for the World and being just awesome.” ‘Buse’, Cyprus Friendship Program
“You were so patient with us, you taught us a lot of useful skills and also you were fun to speak with.” Kyriacos, Cyprus Friendship Program 2012
Watch a 2010 video from the CFP highlighting the program and all the team building activities:

1 comment:

  1. If you'd like to learn more about the Cyprus Friendship Program go to Host families are needed for 2 or 4 weeks every July.