Team 183 - Barbara Fiorentino & Rebecca Donaghe
We've just secured a spot as a 4x4 team in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles
taking place Mar 25-Apr 2. The off-road rally is a grueling test of driving skill and navigation across southern Morocco’s most beautiful and challenging terrain. It is touted as one of the toughest rallies in the world. And it is the ONLY all-female rally in the world.
The Gazelle rally is unique whereby teams are not allowed technological assistance - no GPS, communications or service crews. Teams must find the shortest distance between the checkpoints over nine days of competition with only the aid of traditional navigation – compass, outdated maps, and plotters. Just us, our Isuzu DMax 4x4, some maps and some French military rations (which we're told are "not so bad"). It will be an incredible test of endurance, patience, and teamwork.
We chose to do an off-road rally as a giant challenge for ourselves, but we chose the Gazelle rally for some awesome reasons that go well beyond the race. The initiatives of the rally and its philosophies focus on leaving no trace on the environment but leaving a meaningful impact on the community.
Ecologically, the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles is the only motor sport event in the world with a Global ISO 14001:2004 Certification
demonstrating the rally's commitment to strict environmental practices. It's an exemplary model for racing events in preserving and protecting the environment and communities in which it takes place. Even the face soap we take has to be green.
The humanitarian, educational and medical efforts of the Heart of Gazelles
, however, is where the true impact of the race can be seen in how it not only empowers the women who participate in the event but it builds empowerment and social change for women in the local communities. 25% of all rally fees go to support their efforts which include a traveling medical clinic delivering health services to the most remote communities in the Moroccan desert including gynecology, breast cancer screening, opthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, diabetes care, dental care and preventative medicine. They provide workshops in breastfeeding, detection of breast cancer, and dental hygiene. They assist in job training for women, building schools, developing sustainable clean water wells, and distribute clothing and hygiene supplies. It's an incredible effort by the rally to leave behind a positive impact and one of the reasons why the rally is so beloved and well-respected.
It's the 25th anniversary of the rally (pretty amazing milestone for an all-women rally staged in an Arab country) and there are 185 teams (370 competitors) from around the world. This year we can help break the record for US participation with a total of 10 American teams!
You can help us get there, represent the US to break the record and survive the grueling desert terrain by sponsoring our team in travel, vehicle and safety training/equipment. We may be alone in the desert but we can't do it without the support of our family and friends at home! Sponsor at whatever level you can, every bit helps tremendously, but most of all, wish us luck and follow us during the race on the official website. We are Team 183 - Path Finders
(and hopefully we won't be going in circles!).
Our FB page: Gazelles Team 183
Official Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles website:http://www.rallyeaichadesgazelles.com/en/top+story