A Special Message from SC Volunteer Martin Benda

400 Kilometers… 5 Days of Running… 2 Men… 1 Goal!
Our Volunteers Are Helping Sustainable Cambodia Raise Awareness and Funds

A Special Message from Sustainable Cambodia Volunteer Martin Benda -
Hello Sustainable Cambodia family! Well, after two years, I am back… and planning yet another charity challenge!
Some of you may remember that back in 2014 I decided to help Sustainable Cambodia raise awareness and funds by cycling 2000km from Singapore to Bangkok (newsletter download will start by clicking here). It was a great success! We raised funds whereby multiple projects were launched to improve school libraries, build school sheds and help poor families become more self-sufficient. My theme for that run was “Enable The Future Stars of Cambodia”.

My original inspiration for that run came from these powerful statistics:
  •  Between 2008 and 2012, pre-primary school participation was only 13.3%, and this percentage is as low as 1.5% in remote areas.
  • Just 1.6% of Cambodia's GDP is spent on education, which ranks around 170th in the world.
  •  In remote areas, poor families struggle with daily cost of living, which makes them make their children work in the field from an early age. This field work takes place at the expense of school attendance, a concept not widely understood, or eventually dropping out of school very early.
The question I asked myself was “What can I do?” The answer was the 2014 2000km bicycle ride.

The question I have asked myself now is “What’s next?” For some time I did not have the answer, but time allowed me to ponder, and recently a team of people have sprung to life who are excited about charity… and together we have created a team – the “Extra Mile for Hope” team - a team dedicated to helping Sustainable Cambodia raise awareness and funds. Say hello to Yohei, Daphna and Steven…
So, what is our charity challenge for 2016?

The Bali Run - Running 400km Around Bali

Yohei and I, Martin, are running 400km around the island of Bali (Indonesia) in December 2016. Each of us will cover one half of Bali which equals to 5 marathons in five days, for each of us, followed by a joint 3000m elevation gain climb to the volcano! It’s not an easy challenge! But with your support we can achieve this.

In this challenge, we are aiming to raise USD20,000 to help Sustainable Cambodia focus on what we call “future stars” – children who now have the opportunity to attend a wonderful school, the Kravanh Bright Future Center (KBFC), a grade school run by Sustainable Cambodia in the heart of rural Pursat Province.

KBFC provides a bright future for more than 240 students with classes in Khmer, English, math, physics, computers and chemistry. Imagine the opportunity this opens for students who otherwise would have to spend their youth working in the field, barefoot with absolutely no future prospects!

To help spread the word and make it easy for people to follow us and make a donation to this cause, we have developed a website, “Extra Mile for Hope” (click here to access the website) where you can see more details about this cause, our goal, team members and our Facebook updates.  

How Are We Going to Raise Funds?_________________________________________________________________________________

We believe everyone around us will be as excited about this challenge and the impact we can make as we are. For donations, 100% of all proceeds go directly to projects we will design with Sustainable Cambodia; any out of pocket expenses (travel, setting up our www and so forth) are born by us!

To raise funds, we are building two main streams: Firstly, we are hoping our digital footprint (our website, click here, Facebook Page, click here and this newsletter) will help us spread the word and attract some excited donors to help us achieve our goal.

Secondly, together with our employer, AIMIA (click here to access the website), we are organizing a total of 10 fundraising campaigns for our office where our team is based, Singapore.

These campaigns include lots of fun activities such as group runs, Money for Laughs, Friday lunches, sports tournaments and more! We are also working on positioning The Bali Run challenge as a global charity initiative under the umbrella of our employer, more to be announced soon. Besides monetary donations, we are also working on child sponsorship programs, where we hope to have Aimia offices adopting and sponsoring the children’s education. A full list of children looking for sponsors can be found here. We think this is super exciting!

As you can see, lots will be going on, so please stay tuned and check our website regularly – a place where you will be able to witness all the pre-journey preparations, our fundraising campaigns and, most importantly, where you can also make a donation.

To show my commitment and get others motivated, I have already put aside a donation worth of USD 1000 on my part – join me or beat that amount, I dare you!

How Much of a Difference Do You Want to Make?

For comparison, below you can see a table where you can determine how much of a difference you would like to make in the form of a donation. As an illustration, USD 1,000 can sponsor more than two full-time students at local Cambodian universities, for a full year, or USD 300 can provide a yearly sponsorship of full home & school support for one child!

Amount Donated (USD)
Example of Support Provided
A yearly sponsorship of full preschool support for 5 children
A yearly sponsorship of full primary or secondary school for one child
Development of a family’s own bio-sand filter as a source of clean water
A yearly sponsorship of full home & school support for one child
A yearly Cambodian University scholarship for a graduate from the   village schools
Fishponds and gardens developed to improve nutrition and eliminate hunger
Build a rainwater catchment system to benefit several village families
Agricultural stock provided to families to start up economic development
Water wells, bio-sand filters, agriculture materials and training provided to empower and transform an entire Cambodian village

In conclusion, we believe it is the responsibility of those fortunate enough to ensure that economic growth and prosperity is equally shared with those less fortunate. Little gestures of appreciation such as donations, spreading the word and being willing to help others can be translated to making Cambodia better and more involved in the international community.
Who knows, maybe, just maybe, our contribution will help find the future Steven Jobs, Albert Einstein or Arnold Schwarzenegger amongst the future stars of Cambodia, future leaders who will make Cambodia known on the world stage. Let’s find out by enabling these future stars!

If you are considering supporting our programs in Cambodia, you can visit our website to get more information about Donations.


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