Rising from the Ashes
Rising from Ashes is an independent documentary film about the collision of two different worlds when cycling legend Jock Boyer makes a move to Rwanda (after encouragement from Tom Ritchey). The idea is to help some raw cycling talent from the country to form the first-ever Rwandan national cycling team. As they face impossible odds, Jock and his team discover new purposes and rise from the ashes of the past.
There was a common goal that drove through the entire documentary film, which was to tell the story of hope, redemption and second chances. The film was not so much about the bicycle, but how it turned into a tool for changing an entire nation. Rising from Ashes was produced by couple of nonprofit organizations – Project Rwanda and Gratis 7 Media Group. A large number of people believed in the film over the six long years that it took to create it and generously contributed to its production. It turned out to be an amazing initiative as the entire film was donor-funded and there were no debts incurred.
Team Rwanda began as a cycling organization, but they quickly figured out that they needed to care for greater needs of each other rather than selfishly focusing on themselves. Despite the fact that many riders couldn’t read or write, were malnourished, never received any health care and stayed in homes without any electricity and water, they came together for a bigger cause.
Team Rwanda cycling may not have solved all of the Rwanda’s problems, but it continues to make a huge difference in its society. Riders receive modest salaries for providing for themselves as well as their families. They are given English lessons and are actively learning how to read and write. Furthermore, they are provided dental care and regular health checks as and when the facilities become available. All in all, they are shouldering the responsibility of being Rwandan ambassadors on reputed platforms throughout the world.
Although Team Rwanda actively takes care of its mental and physical issues, what it has provided to its nation is something great – hope. Team Rwanda’s riders are not just a part of their national cycling team, they’ve become symbols of hope; and men that people of the world can look up to. They’ve given their country hope and vision that’s far greater than their individual selves. It is because of them that Rwandans are feeling a new sense of purpose and hope today.
Last but not the least, ‘Rising from Ashes’ is much more than a simple documentary film. It’s a story of hope. However, the film was only a beginning, year 2012 saw Team Rwanda expanding its vision and encompassing the entire Africa for creation of an All-African team!