As the Sandstormers, Qatar’s only charity cycling team, makes their final preparations for a 650km ride across four European countries in one week, the team’s beneficiary, the Sheikh Eid Charity Association’s Beitak Beiti initiative makes arrangements to bring basic comforts to 200 homes in Qatar.

The team of 16 amateur cyclists will cycle more than 100 km a day travelling along the Danube River from Budapest to Munich. With donations of their corporate sponsors, Vodafone Qatar, Qatar Airways, RasGas Company Limited (RasGas) and QShield along with the contributions of family and friends, the team has secured a cumulative sum of approximately QR180,000 approaching their target of QR200,000. The funds raised will go to the Beitak Beiti (Your House is My House) initiative to support 200 disadvantaged families in Qatar with basic household necessities to lead a decent life in Qatar.

RasGas Public Affairs Manager, Ali Al Marri, said:

RasGas has a long-standing relationship with the Sheikh Eid Charity Association and we are very pleased to be sponsoring the Sandstormers to further our support for a very worthy cause in Qatar. We are particularly proud to have two of our employees join the cycling team and take on this challenging journey across Europe in the name of charity.’

The Sandstormers will represent Qatar at the Global Biking Initiative which brings together more than 400 cyclists from 25 countries for an annual charity ride across Europe in the summer. Each country team is required to raise a minimum amount of funds for worthy causes in their home countries. The team, led by Qatari national Marouf Mahmoud, started their journey on Monday 15 June 2014. He said:

We’re very pleased to be supporting Beiti Baitak once again this year. While we have challenged ourselves by doubling our pledge to QR 200,000 this year, we have been humbled by our generous sponsors’ support and the returning in-kind support of Qatar Airways and Vodafone Qatar.’

The Sandstormers are the only charity cycling team in Qatar that is sponsored by Qatar Airways. This year, the national airline is supporting the team’s travel arrangements to and from Europe. Vodafone Qatar has also been a regular sponsor of the Sandstormers since the team’s early days in 2012. This year, it is providing GPS and GSM telecommunications solutions to guide them on their cycling journey as well as team gear. Manager of Sheikh Eid Social and Cultural Centre at Sheikh Eid Charitable Association, Mohammed Hassan Al Ibrahim, said:

The Beitak Beiti touches the lives of 200 families of Qatar’s community from all nationalities. While the Sandstormers team is relatively small, I am once again overwhelmed by the amount of funds their team is able to raise this year which will reach QR200,000.’

The basic necessities provided by Beitak Beiti include refrigerators, air conditioners and safe cooking stoves and are distributed to families of all nationalities residing in Qatar. Direct donations to the initiative can be made through the association’s website.

Mahmoud added:

Raising such a large sum for charity is a challenge which has brought out a lot of creativity among the team.  We have doubled in size this year and now have four Qatari nationals on the team; our partnership with Sheikh Eid Charitable Foundation for the second consecutive year strengthens our roots in the Qatari community and we look forward to reaching our pledged sum and coming back to deposit the funds in full very soon.’

In 2012, the Sandstormers raised QR36,000 for Reach Out To Asia in support of scholarships in Kirali, Nepal. The following year, the team quadrupled its fundraising to achieve QR163,000 in funds for Beitak Beiti.