For over 15 years since the start of the Budapest-Bamako adventure charity rally, Freetown, Sierra Leone will be the final destination for 2020.
The Budapest-Bamako rally also known as the Great African Run is a charity car race in Africa and the largest amateur rally in the world. It is a low-budget version of the Dakar Rally and goes from Budapest, Hungary to Bamako, Mali through the Sahara.
This year’s rally will feature 277 vehicles, over 700 participants (journalists, tour operators, travel writers, etc.) from over 80 countries globally. More than 8,000 kilometers will be covered within 15 days. The race starts in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, and moves straight down to Africa. The team will pass through 5 European countries across the Sahara onto the Guinea/Kambia border and will proceed to Masiaka, Northern Sierra Leone by then the Minister of Tourism will receive them. On Sunday 16th February 2020 the fleet will anchor at the Siaka Stevens Stadium and President Bio will be witnessing.
The tour has been in existence since 2005, Andrew G. Szabo Hungarian internet entrepreneur was the brainchild of the event and was inspired by the “Paris-Dakar Rally”. Primarily the Budapest-Bamako tour is a charity event, which brings direct donations to communities in Mali and Mauritania. As part of their tour in Sierra Leone, they are expected to also donate relief packages and plant approximately over 2000 trees across the country in support of responsible tourism towards climate change.
As part of their charity work over the years below are some of their activities so far:
· In 2005, money was raised for a Bamako orphanage.
· In 2007, participants adopted villages on route and delivered supplies to that community.
· In 2008, teams dug a well in the village of El Geddiya, donated medical equipment to a free clinic in a Bamako slum, including sterilization equipment and an incubator. Further educational gifts were given to schools in several Bamako districts.
· In 2009, over 700,000 Euros’ worth of aid was delivered to Africa. The British “Green Knights” brought solar panels and solar ovens to several Malian villages. A Dutch women’s team delivered 230 bicycles to an organization called Women on Bikes. The NGO teaches women to ride bicycles so they can get jobs away from their villages.
· In 2010, over 25 tons of aid was delivered to Mauritania and Mali. Members of the Norwegian Bamako team built a school in a remote Malian village named Kourmikoro. Aid supported several villages, hospitals, orphanages, schools, and clinics in both Mauritania and Mali.
· In 2011, 800,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. A new building was added to the school built in 2010 and a new well was dug in Diema, Mali. Members of the Junior Chambers International (JCI) team delivered 10,000 malaria nets to Mali and Senegal.
· In 2012, 600,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. Several ambulances were donated to Guinea-Bissau. A new school wing was built in Kourmikoro, Mali. Donations also supported the village of Since Bocce, Guinea-Bissau, the orphanage and hospital in Bissau.
· In 2013, 800,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. A Danish team donated a fully functional fire engine to the mayor of Guinea-Bissau. Solar-powered vaccination storage systems, computers, sewing machines, and bicycles were also donated in Mauritania, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau.
· In 2014, 750,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. A Belgian team donated complete hospital equipment. The Belgian military flew a plane with 2000 kilograms of medical aid to Banjul to the finish line of the rally. In 2015 800,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. A new wing was added to a school that the rally had built-in 2010. The school system of the Cherifula slum of Bamako received the bulk of the aid.
· In 2016, 600,000 Euros worth of aid was delivered. A radio station was built to promote gender equality in the village of Diema, Mali.