Everyone has a story about how they came to be involved with a particular cause and how it became a part of their lives.
Here is ours. Cycling brought us to the rhinos and changed us profoundly.
Karrie Hovey and Charles Merrill first became involved with rhino conservation in the spring of 2015 when they conducted a fundraising campaign for the Rhino Art Project. However, it actually began in 2014 when they registered to compete in the JoBerg2C mountain bike race.
The mission of the JoBerg2C race is to uplift the communities the race travels through over the course of the 9 days and to fundraise for selected charities. When they registered for the event 12 Hours was one of the designated charities. 12 Hours mission is to use donor funds for specific projects that will have tangible results. As their departure was nearing 12 Hours had been dropped from the benefiting charities. Since 12Hours was one of the reasons Karrie and Charles chose this particular stage race, they inquired as to why. The reason was is that 12 Hours did not have representatives that could participate in the event. 3RingCircus (the Hovey/Merrill team name) offered to represent. Although too late to make it back on the main list. Old Mutual (event sponsor) added 12 Hours to their charity list.
12 Hours also asked if 3RingCircus would be willing to run a quick campaign for the Rhino Art Project before they departed the US.
Here is a bit about Rhino Art from the Rhino Art website.
“Main objective: In an effort to fight the war against poaching, Rhino Art involves local communities that are at times the silent witnesses to the slaughter. We increase conservation awareness amongst the youth and cultivate a next generation of wildlife ‘ambassadors’ that has a vested interest in the protection of rhino and other endangered species.
The Rhino Art project also adds to the ‘groundswell’ of public support for Rhino Protection.
Our mission: Rhino Art – ‘Let the children’s voices be heard’ project’s aim is to gather the largest number of children’s ‘Art Voices’ ever recorded in support of Rhino Protection, and to use these ‘Hearts and Minds’ messages from the children of Africa, as a worldwide call to action against Rhino poaching.
These messages from the next generation will be presented to the UN and CITIES in an effort to drive support for conservation efforts.
Project overview: We cannot win the war against rhino poaching if we don’t involve the communities living alongside the reserves. We need to be conscious of their concerns, include and assist the communities. By recording the Rhino Art conservation messages we gain an understanding of what is in the hearts and minds of the children.”
Thanks to many contributors we were able to fund the RhinoArt campaign in 8 schools!
A list of contributors and a chronicle of our race can be found on the 3RingCircus website and on Our Donors page.
After the JoBerg2C event Karrie and Charles participated in one of the Rhino Art programs in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal.
And that is how this all came to be.