Brussels Airlines’ Bike for Africa cycles 400km through Cameroon for Mercy Ships


On Wednesday 28 February 2018, 40 Brussels Airlines employees took off to Cameroon to start a six-day mountain bike tour: Bike for Africa. With the €200.000 that Brussels Airlines aims to collect during this fourth edition, the airline is supporting the international organization Mercy Ships as well as three other local and Belgian projects. On Thursday 15 CEO’s and top managers of Belgian companies will join the team and together with the Brussels Airlines employees start their cycling tour of 400 km through the country rightfully nicknamed ‘Africa in miniature’, thanks to its big diversity of climates and vegetation.

blankThis year, Brussels Airlines’ for Africa organizes the fourth edition of Bike for Africa, an initiative by Brussels Airlines employees to raise money for charity together with corporate partners. A team of 40 Brussels Airlines employees takes off to Douala today and is joined by 15 CEO’s and top managers from Belgian companies tomorrow, with among them Bernard Marchant, CEO of Rossel Group, Marc Desmet, General Manager of Adecco and Brussels Airlines’ own CEO Bernard Gustin. Also singer Piet Goddaer aka Ozark Henry takes part in the cycling tour as an ambassador of the project.

This year’s goal is to collect €200.000, whereof the biggest part will be donated to Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships is an international organization that operates the largest private hospital ship, the “Africa Mercy”, in African countries along the West Coast to provide them with free medical support and training. From August 2017 till June 2018 the Africa Mercy will lie at anchor at the coast of Cameroon with aboard over 400 volunteers, including doctors, nurses and engineers. At the end of the mountain bike tour, the Bike for Africa group visits the ship in Douala, and has the opportunity to actually see the medical teams at work and visit the beneficiaries of their fundraising work.


Ilse Verhelst, CSR Manager Brussels Airlines, says: “For us at Brussels Airlines, it’s important to show the world the beauty and the potential of Africa. The enthusiasm around this 4th edition in Cameroon shows that we succeeded in promoting the African continent as a fantastic mountain bike venue, but also that people want to take their social responsibility and help improve the living conditions of the local communities.”

blankBesides Mercy Ships Bike for Africa will also financially support the local project Foumbot, a technical school for 700 pupils, to make further enlargement of the school possible. Another part of the collected funds will be donated to two Belgian initiatives. “Eindelijk” in Buggenhout, a day care center for 20 people with traumatic brain injury and “Samarcande” in Etterbeek which offers support to children and their families in problematic situations.

blankBike for Africa was first organized in 2011 in Rwanda and Burundi with a donation of €93.000 for SOS Children’s Villages. Two years later the mountain bikers cycled through Uganda and raised €140.000 euro for CoRSU Hospital in Kampala and United Fund for Belgium. By choosing the West-African countries Senegal and The Gambia for its third edition, Bike For Africa didn’t only raise €150.000 euro, but also once again increased awareness of the Africa is not Ebola initiative launched by the airline to rebuild the continent’s reputation after the Ebola epidemic.

Ilse Verhelst, CSR Manager Brussels Airlines, continues: “Impressed as we were by the magnificent route through the land of a thousand hills that connects Kigali with Bujumbura, the idea of a mountain bike trip with colleagues in Africa started to grow in our head. We immediately linked it to our social responsibility in Africa …and Bike for Africa was born.” for Africa is Brussels Airlines’ CSR program, accommodating and supporting humanitarian projects in Africa, the continent Brussels Airlines considers its second home. Since many years, the airline’s employees are actively involved in humanitarian projects and show a very strong social commitment. In 2010 Brussels Airlines decided to bundle and structure those internal staff initiatives and added a selection of external projects by NGO’s and not-for-profit organizations. Its goal is to facilitate projects that are closely connected to the core of Brussels Airlines.

28 February 2018

Photos: copyright (c) Brussels Airlines / Bike for Africa


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