Tip to Tip for Africa
     September 3, 2009 — The Guardian

Since May of 1999, the Townships Project has been making repayable, interest-bearing loans to entrepreneurs, primarily women, in township areas in South Africa through local partnerships with microfinance institutions so that they become self-sustaining.“I thought originally what a great thing to try to publicized the Island trail, which my father (the late Donald Deacon) was so instrumental in getting launched,” she says.“The first year I did it was just after he died. So it was very important from my standpoint. I was here all winter and thought, ‘well, let’s just use that fabulous trail that he put all those years into to do something useful for somebody else.’ ”

That first year drew about 50 riders and last year’s about 30.
Despite its success, things didn’t bode well for a fifth Tip to Tip for Africa due to various circumstances. 
So Deacon contacted Ted Grant, president of MCOH which has been working closely with people in the Mikinduri region of Kenya to help improve their lives. 
“I was certainly curious and interested,” remembers Grant.
Because the two organizations had Africa as their focus, they seemed a perfect pair to join together for a renewed Tip to Tip for Africa ride. And so the two partnered for the 2009 Tip to Tip for Africa.
Although the ride previously was held during the long weekend in May,  because of organizational issues it was thought it would be best to move it to Thanksgiving weekend. 
To date, the ride has raised more than $100,000 for the Townships Project. Deacon and Grant are hoping this year’s joint effort will be even more successful than years past.
Each rider must raise a minimum of $600 in donations. The registration fee is $200, which includes accommodations, meals and local entertainment, as well as transportation from Charlottetown to Tignish at the start and from Elmira back to Charlottetown at the end. 
Grant and Deacon are hoping people from businesses, companies and organizations will band together to take on the Tip to Tip challenge as a team this year. 
Of course, individual riders are still more than welcome. And as former participants well know, whether you’re alone or with friends, it doesn’t take long before all the riders mesh as one mobile community to conquer the 273-km distance with the common goal of raising funds to help people in Africa. 
“If you talk to people who have been (on the Tip to Tip for Africa), they’ve had a ball,” Deacon says. 
The ride is different this year in that it’s not starting at the North Cape lighthouse, but rather in Tignish. And it’s ending at the train station in Elmira, instead of at the East Point Lighthouse. 
And what was once a four-day event has been shortened to a three-day ride with two overnight stays, the first in Summerside and the second in Charlottetown.
“We felt it would be less of a burden for those people who wanted to ride. It would mean less time off work and less time away from family,” Grant says. 
“And, hopefully, it will make it easier for people from off-Island who have an interest in taking part in the event.”
At a glance
Ride fast facts 
What: Fifth annual Tip to Tip for Africa ride.
Why: Joint fundraiser for the Townships Project and the Mikinduri Children of Hope Foundation.
When: Thanksgiving weekend, Oct. 10-12. 
Where: The ride starts the Confederation Trail in Tignish and ends in Elmira. Transportation to and from the start and end points to Charlottetown is included in the $200 registration fee, which also includes accommodations, meals and local entertainment. Each rider must raise a minimum of $600 in donations. All donations over $10 are eligible for tax receipts. 
For information call event chair Ted Grant at 566-2976 or Marilyn McKay at 566-2043, email or visit

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