4L Trophy: SSVP on the Morocco trail
A 6000 km rally, in the legendary “Renault 4L”, with its boot filled with school supplies for disadvantaged children in Morocco – that’s the purpose of the Raid “4L Trophy”.
This great rally is for students aged between 18 and 28, and starts in France every year, crossing the Moroccan desert on its sandy trails, to reach Marrakesh 10 days later. In 2016, there were 1200 vehicles and 2400 participants, making the “4L trophy” first and foremost a bold human adventure, where mutual help counts more than the competition. The students have to escape the inevitable traps of the wadi and the sand, overcome mechanical problems or punctured tyres. The shared support and solidarity of each team enable them to face the main challenge: to cross the finish line!
Reconciling charitable work, team spirit, spiritual awareness and a taste for adventure was the aim of Martine Boijoux, the president of the youth conference in Rheims (Champagne – France), when joining the “4L Trophy”.
How did the project start?
The idea was sown in 2014 when some young people who had belonged to the conference at the Rheims Saint Joseph High School were preparing to take part in the 4L Trophy, the major car rally for students. They suggested flying the SSVP flag, and linking us with their humanitarian project. At the 2015 event, we had four teams. It then snowballed, with seventeen "SSVP cars" leaving in February 2016. These young people come from all over France and Belgium.
What part does the SSVP play?
One of the purposes of the rally is to send school supplies to Africa, on board these famous 4Ls, to help with the education of disadvantaged children. Several conferences in Rheims and the SSVP in Hauts-de-Seine (Ile de France) have therefore organised collections of goods for this. Vincentians have also found some “good deals”, and gathered medical equipment, survival blankets, etc.
What is the value for the SSVP of taking part in this kind of operation?
The main thing is visibility. The 4L Trophy is a media event, popular among 18-30s. It is also a chance to bring these young people together with the SSVP in their own area. Ahead of the rally, the students and the Vincentians met to prepare for the project. On the way to the departure point (Futuroscope in Poitiers in 2014 or Biarritz in 2015 and 2016), they shared a friendly meal with the Conferences en route, and were given accommodation with families in Châtellerault and Niort. They “tasted” the Vincentian experience through the testimonies of volunteers and had a glimpse of the wonderful mission of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. In 2016, the sixteen teams also called at the birthplace of Saint Vincent in Dax, where their cars were blessed before they started out.
And in 2017?
Next year, why not ask young people to join in with your charitable work, as a preliminary to adding the SSVP logo to their car and receiving the school supplies collected by the volunteers? Many more conferences already want to join in the operation: in Alsace, at the Ozanam school in Châlons-en-Champagne, in Dijon, and others.
More information at: http://www.4ltrophy.com/
Article taken from "Ozanam Magazine" N° 217