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(l to r) Aaron Cawker, Amy Vandervelde, Shawn Smith and Christina Wu are cycling to Mexico to raise money for global micro-credit projects.

Aaron Cawker, Amy Vandervelde, Shawn Smith and Christina Wu are cycling to Mexico to raise money for global micro-credit projects.

Riding to break the cycle

May 17, 2007

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By Julie Ovenell-Carter

Five SFU students and recent grads are among the 22 cyclists pedaling from Vancouver to Tijuana, Mexico to raise $1 million for micro-credit projects around the world.

Shawn Smith, Sean Peters, Aaron Cawker, Amy Vandervelde and Christina Wu began their five-week, 3,000-km journey May 3.

Their "Riding to Break the Cycle" road trip is a key fundraiser for Agents of Change, a B.C.-based non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Smith, a recent SFU Business grad wanting to "make a difference in the lives of those who need it most."

Inspired by the work of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner
Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the group aims to raise awareness of the benefits of micro-lending to the world's most disadvantaged communities.

"Micro-credit works by extending a small loan to individuals who cannot obtain credit in traditional ways," says Smith. "Nobody likes to depend on handouts. Our goal is to provide entrepreneurs in the developing world with the financial means and support to lift themselves out of poverty." To date, Agents of Change has raised more than $15,000 towards its million-dollar target.

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