A few weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that I would be riding a bicycle from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City this coming February in the H2H Charity Ride. The above map shows the 2,000 km (1,200 mile) route that we will be taking. About 20 brave (and crazy) souls, mostly expatriate English teachers, will begin the ride in Hanoi, before working our way down the country through Vietnam's rugged mountains, idyllic rice paddies, and bustling towns, until we finally reach Saigon at the end of the month. This should be an absolutely epic experience, but we're not just doing it for fun. Like I said, this is for charity.
Each rider is required to raise at least 750 USD before the ride starts. This money will go towards three charities: the Saigon Children's Charity (www.saigonchildren.com), the Children's Initiative (www.childrensinitiative.org), and the ILA Community Network (www.discovereltvietnam.com/page.php?p=197). These organizations pledge to bring education and healthcare to poor and disadvantaged children that don't otherwise have access to such services.
A few examples of specific projects that donations will help pay for:
Thang Long Vocational School - This school provides vital life and work-related skills to around 300 12-19 year-olds who cannot afford regular schooling.
Catdang community kindergarten project - The construction of a new kindergarten facility to enable all under-5's in the Catdang community to learn in a safe, well-equipped, child-friendly environment.
Go Vap Orphanage Khiem Thi project - The Go Vap orphanage cares for over 200 orphaned children, mainly with disabilities. The Khiem Thi facility provides specialist care and training for visually impaired children at the orphanage. Funds will support equipment such as tables, chairs, beds and mats, the specialist staff required, massage training for the children as an income generating skill as well as therapy and enable necessary hospital visits for the children.
Funds will also be devoted to a few other projects, but these three are illustrative of the kind of work H2H is supporting. As a group, we hope to raise $30,000 for our affiliated charities, and I would like to personally raise at least $2,000. So, how can you help?
If you are in the U.S. or Canada, visit my FirstGiving page at: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/michaeltatarski/bikeride.
If you are anywhere else in the world, visit JustGiving: http://www.justgiving.com/Michael-Tatarski. Residents of the UK get a Gift Aid tax credit for donating. Both of these websites are 100% secure, and donations can be made by credit card or through PayPal. Every little bit counts, and I am sincerely grateful for any donation you make.
To learn more about the ride and the charities we support, visit H2H's great new website: http://www.h2hcharityride.org/.
And, finally, check out our blog to track our preparations for the journey, and follow our progress once the ride begins on February 3rd: http://www.h2hrfvc.blogspot.com/
H2H is a highly unique event supporting several wonderful causes, and I can't wait to take part. Your support would be highly appreciated.