We shift up a gear - the Opening Night – Förderverein Shift Up For Rwanda e.V.

We shift up a gear – the Opening Night

An evening that shows what you can achieve together. An evening that shows that it’s worth simply “getting going” and shifting up a gear to reach your goal.

Starting signal

The big opening night for Shift Up For Rwanda kicked off on 03.03.2023 at 7.30 pm in the Kapuziner Kreativzentrum. Around 80 cycling enthusiasts and other interested parties were eager to find out what to expect. After all: “What exactly is this Shift Up For Rwanda?” some of them must have asked themselves in advance. The race was led by professional cyclist Daniel Gathof and photographer Don Ailinger, who are also the initiators of the charity and have been to Rwanda together, where the project originated.

Stage 1

Daniel Gathof led the audience through the first few meters of the evening. He skillfully took the audience on a journey to Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. In addition to some facts and information about Rwanda and the country’s turbulent history due to the cruel genocide, he showed impressively emotional pictures and videos that brought the country, its people and their attitude to life closer to the audience. He talked about his participation in the Rwanda Epic, a mountain bike stage race, and the not always easy and sometimes strange local conditions. As a spectator, you were already emotionally involved, and even more so when you “met” Florent Nsengumuremyi, who plays a very important role in this project. He is the person who founded the Twin Lakes Cycling Academy in Musanze in the north of Rwanda in 2019, thereby launching an initiative to educate and promote cycling for disadvantaged children and young people.

Stage 2

Now it was time for section number 2. Don Ailinger took the lead and introduced the project, the Shift Up for Rwanda e. V. charity. Together with Daniel Gathof and other participants, the association was founded in October 2022, after taking part in the Rwanda Epic, and supports the Twin Lakes Cycling Academy with donations in cash and in kind, as well as regular exchanges and visits on site. After getting to know Florent and his kids, it was clear to both of them: help can and must be given here. And the shining eyes of the kids as they put on the jerseys Daniel Gathof had brought along for the first time said it all: pure joy – a look into a positive future. Don and his team had taken care of the club’s visual appearance in advance: the corporate design, website, jerseys, social media channels and event equipment were created in just a few days.

Stage 3

In the final section, as a small highlight of the route, the spectators even got to see Florent, who is so incredibly grateful and simply a likeable guy, on the live stream. And what can we say: the world needs people like that. People like that can achieve something and perhaps even move “hills” together in Rwanda.

Final sprint and finish line

After around 1.5 hours, which were also broadcast as an Instagram Live to Rwanda, there was still time for questions about the project, how each individual can help and participate in their own way and what is planned for the near future. The successful event came to an end with a joint exchange and many conversations. Reaching the goal together, achieving something together. Daniel and Don showed us what is possible when you simply set off and shift up a gear – with a great deal of humor and passion for their cause. Thank you for that!

Impressions