SCARSDALE resident Teresa Holmes has returned home after cycling 400 km across Cambodia in seven days and raising funds for UNICEF’s Keeping Children in Families Project. The Cambodia Cycle for Kids 2015 team of everyday Australians took on the adventure of a lifetime whilst raising much needed funds for vulnerable children in Cambodia. UNICEF is championing the rights of children in Cambodia. All children have the right to live with family who care for them, or to be well looked after if they do not have a family. Sadly though, many Cambodian children do not live with their families, and are at risk of exploitation and abuse.
Teresa took on the UNICEF Cycle for Kids Challenge as a “daring adventure” to champion the rights of every child. Teresa trained for the challenge on local tracks, enjoying the peace and the unhurried pace of bike riding compared to driving and discovering tracks she didn’t know existed. “I’ve always been thankful for what I have, and for everyone that has ever helped and supported me, and aware that I have so much more than so many. I’ve been a volunteer in various capacities for most of my adult life and have helped others where I can. I know it’s a cliché but I feel strongly that we should all ‘give something back’ and ‘pay it forward’ and I want to show my children how this works. It’s the sort of person I want to be, for me and for them,” Teresa said.
The local community helped her exceed her fundraising target by donating, buying raffle tickets and buying cakes from a bake sale at Damascus College. She received assistance from many businesses, including Genkifit and the Beaufort RSL, and held a band night at the Scarsdale Hotel as fundraiser. The Cambodia Cycle for Kids 2015 funds for UNICEF will go toward the Keeping Children in Families Project, which aims to decrease the number of children admitted to orphanages and at risk of exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF recently reported that 72 per cent of the children living in care have at least one living parent. UNICEF Australia International Programs Coordinator Rebekah Kofoed said that most children living in residential care are not orphans but rather children from vulnerable households bought there by parents or extended family to relieve a financial burden. “UNICEF knows that residential care is harmful to children’s social, physical, intellectual and emotional development and has longterm impacts on their adult life,” Ms Kofoed said. UNICEF encourages tourists to gain more information when they travel and to support projects which support youth in vocational training such as Friends International.