In July 2015, Modern Format collaborated with Zhytomyr Community Foundation to organize and host the charity bike race ‘I see! I can! I will!’ The purpose of the project was to increase awareness that people with blindness are equal members of society; and that the ability to ‘see’ is not confined to the limitations of physical vision. It was a multi-city affair, of which Zhytomyr was a part.
The event occurred on July 8, 2015. Guests convened at the race entrance in Rivne and accompanied participants via vehicle through Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zhytomyr, Vinnitsa, Kiev, and small towns and villages. Cyclists rode over 2000 kilometers and finished in Korolev Square. Funds were collected during the event to support Sentsothek, a space in Lviv for leisure and informal inclusive education of youth with and without physical sight
LMMGO “Institute of Ukrainian Studies” has already successfully implemented similar projects. In particular, they held the All-Ukrainian charity marathon “Run for the Sake of Children” in 2006, and collected $ 50,000 for the cause. All funds were utilized to purchase equipment for maternity homes in the city of Lviv.
One of the marathon’s organizers was Nikolai Peh, President of the Institute of Ukrainian Studies until June 2014. He unfortunately was unable to realize his second vision — a charity bicycle ride for people with blindness — before passing away. Nikolai Peh completely lost sight when he was twelve years old. He had the opportunity to study in the United States under the FLEX program; graduated from the Faculty of International Relations at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv; was a Chevening Scholarship recipient; and was a CUPP trainee with the Canadian Parliament. Additionally, he was a participant and organizer of many international and all-Ukrainian projects. The ‘I see! I can! I will!’ project is dedicated to his memory.
We are so grateful to everyone who participated in the race. Special thanks to two public agencies that helped organize the event – the Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the Lviv Academy of Human Rights. There was a press conference on July 9, 2015 at 10:00 highlighting the event.