Three cyclists, Giancarlo Ospina, Dakota Graff and Jesse Tyler, are riding from New York City to Seattle to fund-raise a women-led, family-empowerment program.

By Susan Olp (Billings Gazette) |

On the edge of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, sits an enormous garbage dump.

A community called Korah has sprung up there. It is home to more than 100,000 people, many who are lepers, people with HIV/AIDs, widows and orphans.

It’s not possible to alleviate all of the suffering of that place. But a trio of bicyclists from Springfield, Mo., would like to help at least 50 women with leprosy improve their plight.

The three cyclists, Giancarlo Ospina, Dakota Graff and Jesse Tyler, are riding from New York City to Seattle to raise $50,000 for 10×10, a women-led, family-empowerment program of the nonprofit I Pour Life. They’ve raised $22,000 so far.

10×10 targets impoverished groups of women with a diagnosis of leprosy who are at risk of losing their children.

Over 10 months, participants learn a trade that helps them become financially self-sufficient, Ospina explained. The cost per woman is $1,000.

The whole idea is to give the women a hand up, not a handout, he said Friday morning, sitting in the basement of the Heights Baptist Church where the cyclists are staying while in Billings.

“We believe it is a route to sustainability and allows them to have dignity in work,” Ospina said. “It pulls them out of poverty and lets them put their children in school and hire other women in the community.”

Giancarlo Ospina, 25, does freelance web design and search engine optimization. He and Tyler previously ran a clothing company called Take Heart Apparel, where customers could donate 20 percent of each sale to one of the store’s partner charities.

Continue reading this story on Billings Gazette
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