Three riders from Columbia-HTC have visited Peru to see the effect of the charity supported by the team, Right to Play, and to help raise awareness for its programmes. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Craig Lewis and Evelyn Stevens, along with team doctor Helge Riepenhof, visited Lima and a number of remote areas of the South American country.
The three pro riders not only toured the area and inspected the facilities, but also played with the children and joined in the sports activities.
Sixty-five percent of Peru's populations lives in extreme poverty, including 2.7 million children. Only seventy percent of the children in rural areas complete their primary schooling, and the country's literacy rate is one of the world's lowest.
"It was great to have Team Columbia-HTC team member’s travel to Peru to visit the children in our programs,” commented Martin Barnard, Right To Play’s Manager of Global Sports Partnerships. “The riders shared smiles, laughter, and learning with hundreds of children in remote villages, and saw how sport and play can make a huge impact on their daily lives."
"The trip was an amazing experience,” said Teutenberg. “We had such warm welcomes wherever we went. Thousands of people came out to greet us in the towns and villages. Going into these remote villages and seeing the sparks in the kids’ and teachers’ eyes when we arrived was overwhelming.”
The programme was introduced to Peru a year ago, and now works with 26 schools and has reached 33,000 children. It helps to develop physical education programmes in primary and secondary schools.
“Team Columbia-HTC has been working with Right To Play for the past two years, but I was still a little unsure of how important Right To Play is to the communities it supports,” said Lewis. “It is one of those things you have to see to believe. Being in Peru was certainly life-changing for me as well as all of those the Right To Play program reaches. It was amazing to see how much of a positive impact Right To Play has had on those lives.”
Stevens, who is new to Columbia for the 2010 season, was equally impressed. “Sport has always played a major role in shaping my life and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel with Right to Play to Peru to share my love of sport with the children and to see how sport and play is having a positive impact on their lives,” she said.
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