The United Nations Volunteers organize a Tshukudu race in Goma (DRC) to celebrate solidarity

17 May 2013

The United Nations Volunteers organize a Tshukudu race in Goma (DRC) to celebrate solidarity

A Tshukudu race for peace in North Kivu – Unique in the world, Tshukudu is a wooden-made bicycle traditionally used for the transportation of heavy goods in the region.

Saturday, March 16, 2013, no less than one hundred and ten Tshukudistes, both amateurs and professionals, took part in a 6, 25 km long race through the main streets of the city. They show to the world that Goma is a vibrant city where life is stronger than fear and violence. This was not only a way to pay tribute to the Tshukudistes for their vital role in the socio-economic development of the city but also an opportunity to raise awareness about volunteering and solidarity, both deeply incorporated in Congolese society, no matter the social background or the economic condition. Indeed, this fundraising event was organized and held by the poorest. They took the challenge of riding a forty-kilogram Tshukudu all over the city center; by doing so, they raised money for Kitchanga (a recently war-torn town in North-Kivu).

"I am very proud to have participated in this race, not just because I won, but because I have also helped, by participating, those in bigger need," said Emmanuel, professional Tshukudiste and winner of the race.

"It feels very good to see Goma in its festive light despite the surrounding conflicts. It is a memorable day today for all of us," says Guillaume, in charge of the Youth House of Goma. "Positive volunteers-based initiatives of this kind are very important to take the youth away from idleness and to encourage them to turn away from armed groups". This is also what the Head Office of MONUSCO in Goma emphasized when he addressed the people of the city: "you have preferred to earn your living by the sweat of your brow rather than to engage in armed groups, you have chosen to invest in a legal and important activity for all 'Gomatraciens'. You made ââthe right choice, the future lies in your hands.''

Driven by the United Nations Volunteers program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the competition was organized in partnership with MONUSCO, the Association of Volunteers of Congo (ASVOCO) and the Association of Defense and Protection of Workers (ADPP). This event presented a unique opportunity to bring together the inhabitants of Goma and the staff from MONUSCO, UN agencies and NGOs in a collective and cheerful celebration.