Brothers in arms breaking the cycle
It’s not often a poverty cycle raises people out of hardship.
However aid agency TEAR Fund is hoping to do exactly that with its annual bicycle relay which raises funds for vulnerable children here and abroad.
The TEAR Fund Poverty Cycle sees teams of six pitted against each other to complete six laps of a 20km circuit.
A majority of money raised goes towards preventing child trafficking in Nepal, TEAR Fund programme adviser Richard Barter says.
It is estimated that 15,000 girls between the ages of 9 and 16 are trafficked each year from Nepal to India.
Mr Barter says the girls come from very poor families and are often recruited to work in the sex industry or in circuses.
‘‘Agents come around the villages looking for these poor families and put offers to them. And that can be the last they see of their children for a long time,’’ he says.
TEAR Fund also aims to ‘‘futureproof’’ the young women by providing them with education and even setting them up in business.
But the agency also casts charitable net on these shores.
A third of the money raised by the Poverty Cycle goes to Auckland mentoring programme Brothers in Arms.
‘‘It was something I felt strongly about, that part of the money we raised be invested in our local com-
its munity and our young people who are at risk,’’ Mr Barter says.
Brothers in Arms takes young people who may be caught up in anti-social behaviour, offending or serious depression and pairs them with a mentor.
The volunteer mentors make a commitment of at least a year.
David Dallaston has been mentoring Mt Roskill 14-year-old Sovita for about 15 months.
‘‘I think Sovita is the man and I’ll keep encouraging him to do his thing. I think it’s really rewarding for both of us.’’
Their favourite activity together is going out for breakfast to catch up.
‘‘I like that he’s always there for me,’’ Sovita says.
His mum Dawn is grateful for the support her son has received.
‘‘The work they do, to give up their time and get these boys into activities, it’s great,’’ she says.
‘‘Sovita enjoys the company and it’s someone we can trust him to go out with.’’
General manager Wade McMillan says the organisation, which was established in 2007, receives no government funding.
Mr McMillan says money from the Poverty Cycle is hugely helpful, but the event is also beneficial in other ways.
‘‘They get the word out there and that helps attract mentors,’’ he says.
‘‘And for us, if we have money but we don’t have volunteers, then we have money to spend on nothing.’’
Brotherly love: Richard Barter, left, David Dallaston, 14-year-old Sovita and Wade McMillan are looking forward to seeing the outcome of the TEAR Fund Poverty Cycle.