Congratulations to our CEO and Operations Director, who have just completed a gruelling 4 day cycle ride across Kenya!

Led by former world 1500-metre champion Steve Cram, the 150km journey through Kenyan Maasai land raised £15,000 for COCO; the Newcastle-upon-Tyne based international children’s charity that he co-founded over a decade ago.

A huge part of Cintra’s culture is helping others and we have, for many years, been active supporters of COCO, which helps to fund education and healthcare initiatives that make a big difference to the lives of children living in poverty throughout the developing world.

This amazing challenge gave the opportunity to experience the very heart of the country that COCO projects seek to support. As one of the guinea pigs who participated in the inaugural challenge last year, Cintra CEO, Carsten Staehr says that it is one of the most physically demanding things that he has ever done: “I’m no stranger to physical exertion, having completed my tenth marathon last year, but the terrain and the weather combine to make this a real endurance test! The challenge really takes you back to basics, without the luxuries and technology that are completely taken for granted in everyday life.”

Funds raised by this challenge have enabled the building of a classroom at the remote Maasai village of Olorte and the cyclists joined local chiefs, elders and community representatives – some of whom had walked 15km – for the official opening ceremony.

The classroom means the school can accommodate a new intake of students this year and typifies COCO’s work in remote regions of Kenya and Tanzania, providing education and training for children and their families, giving the opportunity of a brighter future.

After completing the four day ride in 30 degree heat, across challenging terrain and climbing a total of 4,000 metres, Cintra Operations Director, Suzanne Cowen said: “This has undoubtedly been one of the toughest and most inspiring things I’ve ever done. The whole team was fantastic and I’m so proud of all of them for making it. The challenge was so much tougher than any of us imagined.”

“However, when we got to Olorte, met the children and saw how much the new classroom meant to them, all the effort was instantly worthwhile. For all of us it was undoubtedly the highlight and gave the tough final day a real purpose.”

During the challenge the team were supported by the Maasai tribes-people, delighted and honoured to showcase their homeland. The experience and insight into their culture was absolutely priceless and one which couldn’t be replicated on an ordinary tourist trip. Cintra were bowled over by their gracious hospitality, so much so that they agreed to sponsor a water pump in one of the Maasai villages along the route. Carsten added: “I have never experienced so much happiness amongst people who, in European terms, have so little. I feel so honoured to be part of this and it has given me a whole new perspective on life. Their pride in their country was truly heart-warming and I am delighted that we were able to lend further support.”

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