Presentation

The non-profit organization GEOforCHILDREN is organizing for the end of July 2016 RIDE TO MOSCOW, a new initiative that has the objective of raising money to help Russian orphans.
The initiative consists of a cycle tour departing from Ronchi dei Legionari (North-eastern Italy), headquarters of the association, and arriving in Moscow passing through Eastern Europe

Objective

The initiative RIDE TO MOSCOW was created to promote the new fund A door for Life, raising money for young boys and girls living in very difficult conditions. The first beneficiaries of this help will be Russian children between 10 and 18 years of age, orphans, who live within institutes until the coming of major age. When these young people leave these centers, the first serious problems appear in their lives. Data show that over 80% of them do not manage to integrate fully into society and remain at the margins.
The objective of the project A door for Life is to support these young boys and girls, accompanying them every step of the way from the institute to their new life. We aim to encourage their talents, to assist them in their studies or professional training, in order to help them better integrate in the society.

Description

RIDE TO MOSCOW is cycle tour of more than 2800 kilometres, departing from Ronchi dei Legionari (Italy) on the 29th of July and arriving in Moscow in mid-August.
The idea of RIDE TO MOSCOW comes from Paolo Ferraris, President of the GEOforCHILDREN association, who will bike through Eastern Europe together with his brother Alessandro and Arturo Giustina. The trip will be organized and managed by a team of voluntary experts, among whom two founding members of Starbene Group, Roberto Travan and Arturo Giustina. Travan as project manager and Giustina as participant and as athletic trainer. Many local associations, such as ASD Pedale Ronchese and ASD Staranzano Ducks, are already working and supporting the project.
The trip includes seventeen stages through Eastern Europe. On the occasion of the first stage of the tour, we will organize a shorter cycle tour of around 50 km. A similar initiative will be organized during the seventeenth and final stage with the arrival on the Red Square.
Both tours will be open to everyone with a registration fee which will be entirely donated to the fund A door for Life.
Companies can support the fund A door for Life as well, through different types of partnership and sponsorship. Premium partners will be sponsors of the entire project, partners will sponsor a single stage of the tour, technical partners will support the project providing resources and expertise. All the money raised through donations and sponsorship will be fully paid to the A door for Life initiative.

The 17 stages of the tour

Stage Departure Nation Arrival Nation Km
1 Staranzano Italy Domžale Slovenia 129
2 Domžale Slovenia Spielfeld Austria 127
3 Spielfeld Austria Mariensee Austria 128
4 Mariensee Austria Břeclav Czech Republic 170
5 Břeclav Czech Republic Starý Jičín Czech Republic 141
6 Starý Jičín Czech Republic Dąbrowa Górnicza Poland 144
7 Dąbrowa Górnicza Poland Kielce Poland 129
8 Kielce Poland Pulawy Poland 129
9 Pulawy Poland Terespol Poland 154
10 Terespol Poland Ivatsevichy Belarus 149
11 Ivatsevichy Belarus Stoŭbcy Belarus 132
12 Stoŭbcy Belarus Barysaw Belarus 161
13 Barysaw Belarus Orsha Belarus 160
14 Orsha Belarus Smolensk Russia 130
15 Smolensk Russia Vyazma Russia 165
16 Vyazma Russia Mozhaysk Russia 140
17 Mozhaysk Russia Moscow Russia 170

At present we cannot exclude changes to the itinerary. These variations may occur as a result of organizational issues, especially in the non-Schengen countries.

Orphans in Russia

The situation of orphans in Russia is tragic, not as much because of their living conditions in the orphanages, as because of the great difficulties they face after leaving the institutes.
Official data show that there are 670-700 thousands orphans in Russia. Over 80% of them are social orphans, children whose parents are still alive but are not looking after them as they are alcoholics, drug abusers, or simply they do not care.
Adoptions are available but they are usually restricted to toddlers and very little kids without disabilities. As these children grow, the “external society” tend to reject them. This situation is confirmed by the Russian Institute for the protection of minors: data say that the 70% of orphans living within orphanages are older than 10 and the 15% suffer from disabilities.
When these boys and girls turn 18, after spending their childhood in orphanages without being given the opportunity to interact with the world outside, they are forced to leave. This is the moment when they need help the most.
What these children need the most is not only an economic help but also and especially human help.
In most cases, indeed, orphanages receive many economic resources from the Government and can satisfy children’s primary needs. These institutes are committed to provide orphans with education and the possibility, when they turn 18, to get a diploma. The limit of such system is that the education of these young boys and girls is managed within the institutes: therefore these children do not have the possibility to attend school and to get in contact with their peers. This leads these young boys and girls to isolate themselves and, thus, to face serious problems when they leave the orphanages.
Official data, such as those from the Prosecutor General, show that only one child out of ten succeeds in integrating into society. The 30% of these orphans, one year after leaving institutes, are homeless and end up living in the streets. The 40% of them become alcoholic or drug addict and another 40% become criminals and end up in jail. One teenage out of ten commits suicide as a a solution to his/her problems

What can we do to change this situation?

The objective of the fund A door for Life is to help these people throughout their growth and their integration into society.
Like all teenagers, these young boys and girls aim for a joyful and satisfying life. When they were children, they dreamt about what and who they would become. But unlike their peers, they do not  a family they can count on, that can accompany and support them throughout the difficult period of adolescence.
We aim to support and assist them to study, to learn and find a job, to cultivate their talents, in order to give them the chance of a better future.
We believe these children are our future. It does not matter where they were born: we have the responsibility, after making them live in a world still full of economic and social disparity, to take care of them and to offer them a better life.
The project aims to be an international project and to encourage the interaction with teenagers in other countries.