For British backpackers Helen Bonnel and Tom Edwards, several years of travelling around the world is not enough. They have had their share of fun and incredible experiences and now feel it’s time to give something back to the countries they have visited. On June 15, they embarked on a journey which will see them cycling the length of Vietnam, from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, in pyjamas to raise money for orphans in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The duo, who dub themselves the “crazy cyclists”, are raising money to help the orphans at the Working For Children orphanage in Cambodia. Donations can be given by credit/debit card via www.justgiving.com/Crazycyclists.
“As a starting point, we will be donating our bicycles and equipment to an orphanage in Hanoi at the end of the charity mission… We would be delighted to hear of any suggestions for future fundraising missions to help them,” 28-year-old journalist Tom Edwards told Thanh Nien Weekly on June 14 before starting the one-month long journey with Helen Bonnel, a 27-year-old clothes shop manager in the UK, a day later.
As for how they came up with the idea, Edwards said, “It was our plan to cycle the length of Vietnam before we volunteered at the orphanage in Cambodia, as we felt it would be the best way to experience the country.”
Edwards also said he and Bonnel had worked hard and saved for a long time in order to raise the money for their self-funded travels. They always ate the cheapest food and stayed in budget accommodation so as to make their money last as long as possible.
“The money people donate, however small, really does make a huge difference,” said Bonnel. “It costs just US$60 to pay for a Cambodian child to attend primary school for a whole year and $165 for secondary school or vocational training so they can learn a trade and earn a living. When you compare this to what most people spend on food or clothes in an average month, it’s not a lot of money at all.”