Charlotte native to bike 400 miles across Africa, raising scholarship money for orphans
Posted on 15 Jul 2010 by Ben Ullman
Meghann Gunderman is about to go on the ride of her life. On this Friday, July 16, she and a group of 35 will embark on RIDETZ, a 10 day, 400 mile mountain biking trek, from the base of Mt Kilimanjaro across Tanzania to the Indian Ocean.
“This is a stunningly diverse adventure tracing the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro down the slave routes, into the ancient Usambara Mountains and finally to the coastal town of Pangani, the gateway to the ancient routes. This challenge will test the riders physical limits as well as give each rider a first hand experience of TFFT’s work and how education can directly benefit Tanzanian communities.”
The ride is a fundraising effort organized by The Foundation For Tomorrow (TFFT), a US 501©(3) non-profit organization that provides scholarships for African orphans to attend boarding school in their home countries. Money raised will pay for tuition, uniforms, books, housing and doctors’ appointments at boarding schools. Currently, the foundation sponsors 71 children as well as supporting eight orphanages.
Queen City Roots
Meghann grew up in Charlotte, an avid runner, and enjoyed the opportunities presented by quality education and travel. She studied International Relations and Human Geography (Development Studies) at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and spent three summers researching and working in an orphanage in northern Tanzania. While still in college, she raised tens of thousands of dollars to enhance the orphanage’s barest facilities, helping to deliver a range of essentials so often taken for granted in the developed world: a washing machine, a power generator and even a water filter, to provide something as simple as safe drinking water for the orphanage’s children and staff.
[callout]Education For Life
- Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned from AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. changethroughchildren.aed.org
- Young people who have completed primary education are less than half as likely to contract HIV as those missing an education. (OXFAM)
- Only half of Africa’s children will complete primary school and one in six will die before their fifth birthday. makepovertyhistory.org
- Universal primary education throughout the world would prevent 700,000 cases of HIV each year, almost 30% of all new infections in this age group. infoforhealth.org
- Providing universal primary education would cost just $10 billion a year. makepovertyhistory.org
In 2006 she turned her passion into a career, and founded TFFT. Today, she serves as the foundation’s executive director, and is a key liaison with many of the individual sponsors and potential donors. Other TFFT fundraising initiatives include annual gala events in Charlotte and New York City.
Corporate sponsors have provided funding and a variety of equipment to outfit the riders for their trip. A camera crew will accompany them on their journey, to document their travels and help share the experience, and the TFFT’s work, with the world.
You can follow the adventure on various social media channels:
Get updates from the staff in Africa, and the riders, on the RIDETZ Facebook page, and The Foundation for Tomorrow’s blog, Facebook page and website. You can also follow their Twitter updates at @RIDETZ and @TFFTAFRICA.