Broth­ers in arms break­ing the cy­cle

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Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.’’

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

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.

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