UNHCR launches fundraising drive at Monte-Carlo rally
GENEVA, Jan 30 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency is launching a fundraising drive that will involve travelling more than 1,500 km to rally round refugees in need - in Monte-Carlo.
While the principality of Monaco is hardly a refugee hotspot, it is the site of the 7th Historical Rally of Monte-Carlo through which UNHCR hopes to promote awareness and raise funds for its refugee operations around the world. The Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) and two participating teams have already agreed to support the cause by racing under UNHCR colours.
The five-day rally will flag off today in Copenhagen, with different starting points for participants setting off from Spain, Italy, France and Monte-Carlo tomorrow. The two teams supporting UNHCR will join the race tomorrow from Reims, France, and start a series of gruelling drives through more than 1,500 km of dirt roads and unpredictable weather, sometimes driving through the night towards the final destination in Monte-Carlo.
The two cars, an Alpine A310 and an Alpine A110, will bear the slogans, "Together for UNHCR" and "Driving for Hope". They will be followed by a third car carrying the technical team, and another one with two UNHCR staff who will distribute pamphlets and information materials to participants and the general public at major stops, and highlight refugee issues to local leaders.
Veteran participant Jean-Pierre Coppola can only imagine the ordeal of people driven from their homes by conflict, but he can empathise with the courage, endurance and perseverance it takes to survive the long and hard journey. As such, he hopes that his passion for speed and old cars can be used to spotlight the needs of refugees around the world.
UNHCR will hold a short presentation on the rally's closing night next Wednesday. The agency will also use the high-profile annual rally as a platform to appeal for donations from participants and spectators.
The 7th Historical Rally of Monte Carlo will be held from January 30 to February 4, featuring some 350 cars with models from 1955 to 1977.