Participants got on their bikes to raise money for a community in Madagascar.

Leaside cyclists raise money to bring water to Madagascar village

'It takes a village to change a village,' says H20 co-founder

The snowstorm could not stop people from cycling — they just took it inside.

H2OCanada, a group devoted to helping people in Madagascar, held the event April 15 at CycleBar Leaside to raise money to provide clean water for Amberomena, a village in the island country’s eastern region.

Members of H2OCanada joined the cycling session at CycleBar Leaside.

Families, friends and strangers gathered to try to reach the fundraising goal of $2,500, in partnership with WaterAid Canada, to build one tap for the village’s 80 people.

The event included a cycling class, raffles and prizes. The energy in the room was boosted with music, multi-coloured lighting, and refreshments. About 25 people attended. They’ve raised just over $1,000 for the event so far and are still counting for the upcoming gala.

H20Canada has eight committee members in Toronto and four in Vancouver. They’re looking forward to expanding in many ways with the goal to help communities in Madagascar.  

Darlene Paguandas, co-founder of H2O, said she believes that providing safe water will improve environmental protection in these areas by protecting clean water sources, animals and allowing plants and forests to thrive.

“It just begs the question of what would happen to all of those people if they’re just given the same access to water the way that we are,”Paguandas said. “It really could transform an entire community and an entire country.”

Coming up is an H20Canada gala on May 4. A cocktail event will feature a $30,000 silent auction. The night will also feature activities such as raffles, virtual reality games, and a snapshot photobooth. The goal is to raise $40,000 in one night.

As Paguandas said, “It takes a village to change a village.”