Eleven British men are starting punishing cycle training in the build up to a 320 mile cycle ride from Vietnam to Cambodia between 9 and 22 November 2012.
Twenty six year old Salah Aboulgasem from Bromsgrove is training most weekends.
“I’m nervous, to tell the truth, I’m not a regular cyclist and the terrain is really hard, uphill, across rain forests, really humid. I’m already aching all over,” says Salah, adding “I think the morale of the team will help, we will pull each other through and keep focused on the cause, which is worth all the effort.”
The team has committed to raise £100,000 for Islamic Relief’s Water4Life projects in West Africa, which is currently going through a food crisis following droughts. The money raised will help towards digging wells, constructing micro-dams and building systems to capture and purify rainwater, helping communities access clean water for years to come.
The cycle will take the team from Ho Chi Minh to Angkor Wat, through rice-paddies and rainforests, past stunning rural regions and ruins of ancient civilisations, via Buddhist temples and the waterways of the Mekong Delta.
Salah is joined on the cycle ride by renowned Islamic nasheed (spiritual vocal music) singer Zain Bhikha and his son Rashid. “Two million children die every year simply because they have no clean water to drink, that’s 5000 children every day. We have to help them,” says Zain.
Water4Life targets villages prone to seasonal water shortages, its aim is long-term support. Water tanks, power houses, water kiosks and pumps are installed. Islamic Relief trains local leaders in relevant water related skills so they can in turn teach their communities to prevent the spread of illness and dehydration and provide water for crops during the dry season, to halt the process of malnutrition.
To sponsor Salah visit WWW.ISLAMIC-RELIEF.ORG.UK