The FAI’s Martin O’Neill and John Delaney today joined Roz Purcell and three of the dragons from Dragon’s Den; Niall O’Farrell, Bobby Kerr & Sean Gallagher to launch Ireland’s Mustard Seed Communities’ charity cycle, one of the hottest charity cycles of the summer. The FAI-Mustard Seed Euro Cycle will take place this June and will host some 130 cyclists, on two wheels, from the Aviva Stadium to the Stade de France, arriving just in time to go to the first Ireland match, Ireland Vs Sweden, in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.
All proceeds raised through the
Dublin2Paris cycle will go directly to Mustard Seed Communities. The event organisers hope to raise €300,000 to fund the building and operations of a school at a Mustard Seed Communities ‘Little Angels’ project in Zimbabwe, at Woodville, Bulawayo.
Martin O’Neill, Republic of Ireland football manager stated “I’m delighted to hear that fundraisers from Mustard Seed are combining football with raising money for a wonderful cause. I wish everyone well on this epic trek to Paris.”
“The FAI is extremely proud to support such a great initiative. I wish everybody the best of luck on their journey from Dublin to Paris and look forward to seeing them at our first match of EURO 2016” said John Delaney, Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland.
Billy Glennon, Chairman of Mustard Seed Communities Ireland stated that “MSC is delighted to continue its great work with the support of the Irish Soccer fans. Dublin2Paris will be an emotional and fun packed event and I am really looking forward to joining over 100 cyclists to support our Boys in Green. There can be no better way to get to the Euro’s whilst also supporting thousands of children who desperately need our help. We are grateful to the FAI, who has been an outstanding partner for this event.
The Dublin2Paris cycle offers participants two route options to the Euro’s from a duration and difficulty level stand point. For the more competent cyclist the route will cover 700km over five days on the saddle from the Aviva Stadium to Paris. For those who wish to partake but on a more recreational level, the shorter route of 200km over two days fly’s them to Nantes where they join the group and together freewheel it to Paris. Full route information can be found on www.Dublin2Paris.com.
MSC is a charity dedicated to caring for disabled and abandoned children in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe. Founded over 30 years ago by Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon Mustard Seed Communities now cares for over 600 children.
For the past number of years, the work of the charity under the ‘Friends of Mustard Seed’ umbrella has been wonderfully supported in Ireland. It is hoped that the formal incorporation and official launch of ‘Mustard Seed Communities, Ireland’ will solidify that support base and lead to an enhanced involvement of Irish people and volunteers with the charity, adding a greater dimension, strength and focus to drive the charity for many years to come.
About Mustard Seed:
Little Angels School
In 2015 MSC Zimbabwe purchased five acres of land adjacent to the current property in Woodville. Plans for the land include building a new school for children in grade zero (preschool, ages 3 to 5 years old). Mustard Seed Little Angels is a grade zero feeder school that accommodates children in the community who cannot afford to pay for grade zero schooling. There is no charge for the children to attend however, parents and guardians are asked to volunteer at the school and provide whatever they are able; firewood or other materials that can be used to keep the school running. In addition to providing education, the Little Angels School provides breakfast and lunch for the children who attend.
The existing school, Little Angels, can no longer accommodate the numbers of children from the local community who rely on Mustard Seed for their grade zero education. There are 80 children currently enrolled. A new facility is needed to accommodate more children; to double the size of the school. The new school will include three classrooms and toilet facilities for another 80 children.
Mustard Seed Communities Zimbabwe
Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) Zimbabwe is located throughout the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. MSC was established in Zimbabwe in July 2002 to assist with the care of children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. What began as a single nutrition program has evolved into three children’s homes, four daily nutrition programs feeding over 600 children a day, three pre-schools, Potter’s House – a training center, substantial farming programs, and a chapel which serves the local community. The three children’s homes include Generosity and Freedom, for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, and Joel’s Place, for children with disabilities. There are just over 50 children living in these three homes at present.
Initially, MSC Zimbabwe was known as “The Narrow Gate Youth,” a group of youth specifically formed to coordinate a feeding program for the children in Sauerstown, an area of Bulawayo. The youth were encouraged to take a leading role in the development and execution of this program as well as becoming involved in various outreach activities in Bulawayo. Gradually the numbers of both the youth and the children increased and this formed the foundation of MSC Zimbabwe.
The population of young people who became involved in “The Narrow Gate Youth” activities is an inspiration to MSC. They are being trained and empowered as key facilitators of the MSC mission in Zimbabwe. Many of these individuals are now in leadership and administrative roles within MSC Zimbabwe. Several of the original youth have taken annual promises to serve as Mustard Seed Communities Missionaries. At present, seven brothers live and work at the main location in Woodville.
MSC Zimbabwe has established itself slowly and quietly, complimenting the work of NGOs, churches and small communities, and presently operates from its headquarters in Woodville on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
MSC Zimbabwe has established three homes to provide a caring environment for children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. These include young children and teens. The three homes, Generosity, Freedom, and Joel’s Place are all located at Woodville. Freedom cares for young children affected by HIV/AIDS, Generosity is home to elementary and high school aged children affected by HIV/AIDS, and Joel’s Place is home to children with disabilities. At each of these homes, a House Mother and caregivers provide care for the children. MSC Zimbabwe makes every effort to provide all the necessities for our children so that they are raised in a balanced, Christian environment. There are currently 57 children living in these three homes.
There are four Nutrition Programs at MSC Zimbabwe operating in four different locations throughout Bulawayo – Pumula, Cabatsha, Sauerstown, and Woodville. A total of approximately 600 children receive a meal each day. In addition, the children participate in various activities which include singing, games, informal tutoring, and spiritual activities.
Every child has the right to education, therefore the Little Angel’s Learning Centre’s offer free basic pre- school education to prepare children ages 3-5 years old for a formal first grade education. There are three Little Angel’s Learning Centers, one located in Woodville, and two others located in Cabatsha and Sauerstown. Our three centre’s follow the official syllabus provided by the Ministry of Education. Current enrollment is approximately 150 children. The children are provided with breakfast and lunch each day.
Training and Outreach Programs
In an effort to support the youth as well as some disadvantaged individuals and assist them in becoming self-sufficient, we established The Potter’s House – a training centre. This includes programs in candle making, baking, and other basic skills training and employment where possible. Potter’s House offers additional enrichment programs in music, arts, and drama programs. As MSC Zimbabwe prepares the youth to be tomorrow’s leaders, they are encouraged to be involved in every area of the organisation’s activities including administration and care giving.
MSC Zimbabwe is part of the organisation’s international effort to feed ourselves in every country. There are several agriculture projects underway at Woodville. These include a large-scale farming effort together with the raising of chickens for broiling and laying.