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They bike for Africa by way of Empire State Trail

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Paper Fig riders are (l to r) Jodi Cole, her husband Eric Cole and Ron Voller. Photo by David Lee

HUDSON—On Saturday, September 3, Ron Voller rode his bicycle through Hudson on his way to Niagara Falls. He was riding the 560 miles along the Empire State Trail to raise funds and awareness for the Paper Fig Foundation, an organization created in 2009 to benefit women of East Africa.

He was joined in his ride by friends Jodi and Eric Cole, and welcomed by a group of friends, well-wishers and board members at the Half Moon Bar on Front Street in Hudson.

On its website the foundation defines its mission as “holistic empowerment through fashion and the arts in East Africa.” It is based in New York City and that is where Ron Voller began his adventure on September 1. If all things go according to plan he will have arrived at the observation tower in Niagara Falls on Tuesday, September 13.

Voller has worked on projects from clean water to health care to micro loans to fashion shows with the Paper Fig Foundation in Uganda. The current project called the Paper Fig 560 is another way of bringing attention to issues such as economic stimulus, personal empowerment and cultural preservation. Voller said he spent three months in preparation for his bike ride. He points out that a bicycle is a critical means of transport in Uganda.

Paperfig.org says, “We’ve provided work for hundreds of designers, models, and support personnel through production of groundbreaking fashion events, helping thousands gain access to economic empowerment in East Africa. We provide healthcare and clean water to underserved rural communities.”

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