R E L I E F   R I D E R S   I N T E R N A T I O N A L

View a beautiful slideshow of our inaugural June 2011 Cappadocia Relief Ride

Join us on one of our breathtaking Relief Rides in India this winter. Click here for more details


Read recent reviews of our Relief Rides on Much Better Adventures.

Find out how we plan to re-launch our free cataract surgery program on our 2012 Relief Rides in India

Unable to join us on a ride this year? Purchase a cataract surgery or buy a goat for a family in need.

"In my field of travel writing, the description “life-changing” is bandied about loosely, but I could not be more sincere when I say this trip (February 2007 Nagaur Relief Ride) changed my life. (read more)
-- Andrew Mersmann, author of Frommer’s "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference"

Watch our CBS newsreel of the very first Relief Ride

Relief Riders International
P. O. Box 615
Great Barrington, MA

(413) 329-5876

October 9, 2011

Dear Friends

We are pleased to announce the successful completion of our inaugural Cappadocia Relief Ride in June 2011. A heartfelt thank you goes out to our wonderful group of Relief Riders, Ercihan Dilari and Susan Wirth, their team at Akhal Tekhe Horse Center, and Dr. Ozay Mutluay who led our dental program, all of whom made this Relief Ride a resounding success!

Our Cappadocian Relief Ride gave us the unique position of being able to take a hot air balloon ride, allowing us to absorb a majestic landscape, and giving us a sense of our itinerary before we set out on horseback. Over the coming 14 days we rode up to a 14th century Caravanserai (Travelers Lodge) on the Silk Road, experienced a mesmerizing Sufi performance, rode through streams, canyons, and over mountains, met beautiful Turkish people and had heartfelt and mouthwatering Turkish meals at the Muhktars (Village official) houses in whose villages we ran 4 dental camps and installed 2 playgrounds, all of this accompanied by seemingly endless joyous evenings filled with laughter, music and good company!

As luck would have it, Marc Lecureuil, our veteran Relief Ride photographer, was able to travel with us again, truly capturing our inaugural Relief Ride experience in Turkey. We hope you enjoy his beautiful Cappadocian Relief Ride slideshow.


Dental Treatments
Our 12 day Relief Ride in Turkey allowed us to perform Dental Camps in four, small, rural, villages. Our Needs Assessment trip in 2010 told us that basic dentistry was a critical need in the Cappadocia region but not until we opened the first Dental Camp did we realize the extent dental care needed. The Relief Rider Team screened 96 people. Dr. Mutluay found that, on average, each patient required 4-6 procedures. However, with this many people attending the camps, performing all the procedures would have exceeded our budget so we decided to focus on the emergency needs (i.e. fillings, extractions and root canals) allowing us to provide care to more people. Our Relief Riders quickly got the hang of registering and managing patients for their screenings with the dentist, and as of today, 90 of these 96 patients have already visited the dental clinic and received their prescribed treatments which include 378 fillings, 87 extractions and 4 cleanings. Having seen the extent of the need for basic dental care in the Cappadocia region we intend to continue our Dental Camp program on our June 2012 Cappadocia Relief Ride.

Playground Installation
During our exhilarating ride through the magical landscape of the Cappadocia regions we were fortunate enough to find two villages to participate in our Education through Play Program. This new addition to the growing list of Relief Riders International's humanitarian program was developed specifically for the children of central Turkey with the intention to provide a safe, clean, space for outdoor play. Our Relief Riders were thrilled to able to deliver beautiful, durable playground sets to these village children so they can safely move, climb, slide, jump roll and chase giving their brains exercise for healthy development. The kids loved their new playgrounds and couldn't wait to get swinging and climbing with the grace and ease that only small children seem to manage.

Garbage Program
As we were working and traveling through these Cappadocian villages it became apparent that these villages could use some help with trash management. We saw no real system for collecting garbage outside of people's homes, all of which would inevitably lead to a waste management problem in the long run. The village officials explained that this has never been a problem in the past but with the gradual introduction of Western food products, there appear to be more and more pieces of discarded packaging lying around. Since June we have been focused on finding a solution to properly address this problem and in June of 2012 Relief Riders International will launch its first Garbage Management program in Cappadocia. In collaboration with the local officials our 2012 Relief Riders will help install simple, yet effective, public fixed trash cans and organize an awareness campaign to help create awareness for this growing waste challenge before it takes hold as it has in so many other developing countries.

All in all the June 2011 Cappadocia Relief Ride was a huge success and we are excited to return to Turkey in June 2012. You can view the itinerary for this trip by clicking on the link below:

June 2012 Cappadocia Relief Ride
June 19 - July 1, 2012

We know that many of you are thinking about and planning your winter vacations. We hope you will join us on our two exciting and purposeful Relief Rides scheduled in India this winter where we have upped our ante and have decided to perform two major medical programs on each Relief Ride. We will offer 100 free eye surgeries per ride through our Gift of Sight program and offer dental treatments to as many as 400 patients in our Dental program. For further information on our Relief Rides in India please click on the links below:

January 2012 Sardar Samand Relief Ride
January 25th - February 8th, 2012

February 2012 Narlai Relief Ride
February 18 - March 2, 2012

I am hoping all of you are well and am looking forward to hearing from you!


Alexander Souri

"Poverty is the worst form of violence"
-- Mahatma Gandhi

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