Ricoh SA donates R50 000 to Dutch Cairo-to-Cape cyclist

Ricoh SA has sponsored Dutch cyclist, Shayne Rookhuyzen, R50 000 following the completion of his bicycle ride from Cairo to Cape Town to raise money for children in need. Rookhuyzen recently completed the three-and-a-half month, 11 000km Wheels of Hope journey to raise awareness and money for Support Orphans in Southern Africa (SOSA) foundation. The R50 000 will be put towards a school for the children of Oasis Haven. ‘Our MD, Richard Pinker, believes in the ethos that we need to be responsible corporate citizens, which means living in harmony with the environment, sustainably and with a strong regard for human rights and poverty, which are burning global issues prevalent also in South Africa,’ said Dierdre Fernandes, head of marketing communications and corporate social marketing at Ricoh SA. ‘Shayne’s journey was incredibly brave and succeeded in raising over R500 000 following our additional donation.’ Ricoh Europe sponsored various equipment for the Dutchman’s ride, including his KOGA World Traveller bicycle, the Yellow Brick GPS tracker, cycling gear and additional bicycle equipment, as well as posters, flyers and other media activities. Rookhuyzen’s ride traversed Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and ended at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. It began on 16 February and ended on 28 May. He experienced some of the horrors as well as the generosity of Africa during his trip, including facing down three AK47-armed people on a desolate road, from whom he quietly rode away after they cocked their weapons and pointed them at him. He also received many well wishes from locals en-route representing the social dichotomy of the continent. He averaged roughly 150km and 8 hours per day using equipment sponsored by Ricoh, amounting to just 25kg besides the bicycle, to ensure that all proceeds could be given to charity. He had no support vehicle and he spent his nights in a small tent with a Waka Waka solar powered light and recharge unit with a gas burner to cook his meals. He experienced long periods of loneliness and extreme weather with temperatures reaching nearly 40 degrees Celsius. He performed all of his own maintenance and had more than 10 000km of puncture-free riding, thanks mainly to his Schwalbe Marathon Mondial sponsored tires. ‘Shayne has been an enthusiastic amateur cyclist and runner born to Dutch parents in South Africa,’ said JP Skinner, sales support co-ordinator and customer relations officer at Ricoh Europe SCM as well as the organiser behind Rookhuyzen’s epic charity ride. ‘Shayne has travelled extensively throughout Africa and knew well orphans’ needs on the continent. In South Africa alone there are 3,3 million orphans, as many as there are children in the Netherlands. ‘Unlike most European countries, most orphanages and organisations depend on the support of others to give these children a safe home,’ said Skinner. ‘Foundation SOSA supports four of these orphanages and organisations with direct help. The founding members collect donations in the Netherlands and buy the supplies personally or through family assistance in Johannesburg and Cape Town and deliver them to where they are needed. There is no more direct means of using all donations to a worthy cause. ‘Without Ricoh’s support there would be no Wheels of Hope project,’ said Skinner. ‘Our promise that 100 percent of the donations are spent on children could only be realised if the costs were covered.’ Visit the SOSA website at www.sosasupport.nl for more information.