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Helping underprivileged youth pedal their way to success

March 2017 │ Mauritius

Deutsche Bank Mauritius is supporting the development of underprivileged youth through sport by sponsoring the Mauritius Cycling Academy, which aims at supporting 32 young cyclists from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them better integrate into society.

Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship, as part of its Born to Be youth engagement programme, will enable the Academy to acquire the necessary equipment for training these young cyclists and will cover expenses related to the project. The official launch of the Mauritius Cycling Academy took place on March 9 at the Anjalay Stadium in Belle Vue Maurel, Mauritius, in the presence of the project coordinators and the young beneficiaries.

"We became aware of potential young Mauritian participants during the annual Deutsche Bank 100km Cycle Tour, especially after the victory of young Mauritian cyclist, Yoan Pirogue, in 2015. That same year we chose SAFIRE as beneficiary NGO and were impressed by their work on the ground. We then came up with the idea of ​​putting their team in contact with the Mauritian Cycling Federation, whose aim was to launch academies across the island,” said Friedrich Philipps, Chief Country Officer of Deutsche Bank Mauritius. But Philipps wanted to do more than just connect them. “We wanted to give a financial boost to the young generation of cyclists, who may be future professionals,” he added.

For Nargis Bundhun, President of SAFIRE, sport is an excellent medium for instilling values ​​such as discipline, respect and perseverance. "Since 2006, we have been working for the rights and guidance of street children, particularly from regions such as Triolet, Baie du Tombeau, Bois Marchand, Camp Levieux, Bambous, Riambel, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Olivia and Caroline. We focus our attention on out-of-school children under the age of 16, or with aggravated absenteeism, and mother-and-daughters among others. 20 of our beneficiaries aged 12 to 14, including four girls, have joined the Northern Cycling Academy. Since their integration, we have noticed a change in their behavior for the better. It is an opportunity for these children to practice a healthy activity and also a way for them to integrate into society through exchanges between clubs and regions. "

Some of SAFIRE's young protégés took part in their first national competition on Sunday, March 5, at the Champs de Mars. "The youngsters have been training since October 2016. Training sessions are held twice a week at the Anjalay Stadium under the supervision of José Achille, national coach and manager of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with the collaboration of Yoan Pirogue and Christian Lutchmun "explains Lawrence Wong, President of the Mauritian Cycling Federation. "Some have shown potential early and we have given them the opportunity to experience a cycling race," he adds.

Last year’s annual Deutsche Bank Mauritius 100km Cycle Tour saw over 630 cyclists – including professional cyclists from Europe and South Africa, as well as staff from across the Asia Pacific region who were invited to participate as part of Deutsche Bank’s regional volunteer exchange programme -- pedal for a cause. This year, the race will be held on September 24.

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Last Update: May 23, 2017
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