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What is Chooda?


The Chooda name comes from the Bulgarian word “чудо” that means miracle, marvel, wonder, or paragon.

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What is Chooda?


The Chooda name comes from the Bulgarian word “чудо” that means miracle, marvel, wonder, or paragon.

At Chooda, we believe that moments in motion can be profoundly inspiring, whether on foot, on bicycle or any other means that allows the sun on your face and the wind at your back.  

Chooda is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a vision of personal transformation and global social change.

Chooda’s mission is to create transformative experiences for its participants while providing much needed resources abroad. At Chooda, we believe that by advocating for social justice in the world and by contributing a part of ourselves in service to others, we evolve. In this spirit, we create international adventure experiences where participants challenge themselves in a variety of ways (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally) while having the opportunity to engage with communities for whom they have raised money and awareness and to interact with the local organizations that are working to make such social change possible. Crucial to our vision is the fostering of positive social interactions between our communities in culturally sensitive and mindful ways.

Chooda’s mission is supported by three distinct goals:

  • Creating meaningful, transformative personal experiences for participants.
  • Raising awareness and support of social issues through fundraising, acts of service, and community collaborations with our beneficiaries.
  • Encouraging activism by creating an umbrella under which inspired and empowered participants can go on to create change in their own communities and in the world at large.
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Our Work


Chooda accomplishes its mission by working with local communities and investing in partnerships

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Our Work


Chooda accomplishes its mission by working with local communities and investing in partnerships

 

Chooda is committed to promoting the health and well-being, economic stability, and sustainable development of countries abroad by investing into local organizations working in HIV/AIDS, global health, women’s empowerment, and economic development.  Chooda's funding provides resources to small and large organizations, some of which would not otherwise have access to international funding. 

Chooda accomplishes this by organizing events in which program participants not only solicit donations and grants, but also visit these programs, meeting staff, and seeing first hand how the work is done.  It is the aim of Chooda for program participants to become lifelong ambassadors and benefactors of the organizations they meet.

In its work, Chooda aims to:

  • Work with local partners - Chooda partners with local organizations that improve the health and well-being in the fight against HIV/AIDS and strive toward economic empowerment of women and girls.  Working with local partners ensures culturally appropriate programing and supports the local economy.
  • Create Sustainable Partnerships - Chooda creates long-term relationships with organizations in order to have a meaningful impact in communities.
  • Build Global Connection - Chooda offers experiences to visit the places participants support with the aim to create a community of lifelong advocates for organizations and regional issues.

 

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History


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History


History of Chooda

In 2011 a group of friends had just completed AIDS/LifeCycle and asked the question: "how can we do more?"  Over the next months founding members -JD, Stephanie, Heidi, Ali, and Andy - embarked on creating Bike Zambia.  

Why Zambia?  

In 2012, 1 in 7 people living in Zambia had HIV/AIDS, and life expectancy was 39.* The aim of Bike Zambia was to bring resources to a region truly impacted by the AIDS epidemic.  A small group of people fundraising could affect dramatic change.  

*According to the latest World Health Organization data published in 2015, this figure had increased to 1 in 8 people, with life expectancy being 59.  The work in prevention and treatment, combined with improved access to antiviral drugs is making a large impact.  Nevertheless, the need is still great.

Bike Zambia - Ride bicycles to empower, sustain, and enrich communities

The idea behind Bike Zambia was not just to create an event that raised money for organizations, but to visit these organizations along the way so ride participants would return as advocates and ambassadors, having been truly transformed by the trip.  Creating a space for conversations to occur - between community leaders working in the field, people using services, and riders doing fundraising who want to be allies and advocates - is a central tenant of Chooda's programming.  

2012 - The first trip

JD, Stephanie, Andy, Ali, and Heidi spent countless hours organizing the logistics of the first Bike Zambia.  From choosing a location, selecting beneficiaries, and addressing medical procedures, to recruiting participants, fundraising, and organizing, the team was pleased to witness an amazing event with 34 participants and $80,000+ given out in grants.

2013 - 2017 - Expansion in Service and Reach

In 2013, Chooda was granted its 501(c)3 status, so more of the vital funds raised could be directed abroad.  On an all volunteer staff, all money raised went directly to programming.  Chooda continued to expand its reach, collaborating with new organizations in Zambia and drawing riders from across the globe.   In addition to Board members, key volunteers like Pete, Jackie, Janelle, Brian, Brendon, Kevin, Zack and others played a key role in making Bike Zambia a success year after year. 

2014 - Trek Nepal And Furthering Impact

In 2014, Chooda organized a second trip - Trek Nepal, a 16-day trek to the base of Mt Everest that benefited an organization called Teach for Nepal.  The success of this trip made Chooda realize the possibilities to expand its programming.  

2017 - Looking Ahead

As Chooda aims to further achieve its mission, the Board of Directors hired its first staff person in 2017 with the aim to expand programming.  Chooda will hold true to its core value of low overhead.  

For those of you who have been part of our organization from the beginning - thank you!  And for those of you just learning about Chooda, please join us as we move forward and aim to make a meaningful impact in the world!