The bike ride started in 2013 when Jeremy Thomas, an Australian expat living in Singapore, led a group of five other riders, including Tom Regent, Eric Feddal, Elvis Rodriguez, Ajay Ghariwala and Dax Love on a bike ride from Bangkok to Phnom Penh via Battambang. Jeremy was looking for a good cause for which his newly formed group could raise money from sponsors who were willing to sponsor them on the ride.
One of our Board members Craig Armstrong, was a good friend of Jeremy’s at the time, and was also living in Singapore.
In that first year the riders decided to donate money, over $20,000 raised from sponsors, to HOPE to purchase four 10,000 litre water tanks which were installed behind the Administration Building and the Hope Indochina Ride Organisation (HIRO) was born.
Typically each ride then lasted 5 days, and covered 800 – 850 kilometres, and the participants covered all of their own costs.
In 2014 the ride raised over $20,000 which covered most of the cost of two new motos and a good used 4-wheel drive Toyota vehicle.
In 2015, 29 cyclists, the largest group to date, rode from Bangkok to Siem Reap via Battambang and raised around $175,000 which was used to fit out two ‘bungalows’ and start and operate our first two pre-school classes and to start planning for a third class. The riders refer to our pre-school children as the little HIRO’s.
In 2016 the ride started in Vientiane in Laos and finished in Battambang and raised around $160,000 for the ongoing support of the pre-school classes, to support the Family Preservation program and to purchase one additional moto.
The ride started in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2017, and finished in Battambang with about 30 riders who raised over $145,000. This money was used to fund our 3 pre-school classes and to help children who have finished pre-school to continue their education at Government school with support from our Community Assistance program.
The 2018 ride started from Siem Reap and crossed into Thailand for 3 days, then back into Cambodia for the final stretch into Battambang. Around 30 riders raised $185,000 and the money was used to once again fund the pre-school and this year saw a trial of a new nursery school for babies and 20 children entering our Community Child Education Development program (CCED). This program is for those children who have completed pre-school but because of poverty would not be able to go to Government School. Hope supports these children with uniforms and school materials so that they can continue their education.
Over $153,000 was raised in 2019 on a ride from Phnom Penh, the money was used to fund the pre-school which had expanded to four classes and 80 children as well as the Community Child Education Development program (CCED) and the start up of the new Nursery and playschool Program.
With the outbreak of Covid in 2020, and travelling and large gatherings becoming difficult, if not impossible, the HIRO’s pivoted and decided to ‘Ride at Home’ and bike rides were organized for Holland, Singapore and Australia. $180,000 was raised and was again used to fund the pre-school as well as the Prevention Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).
In 2021 $185,000 was raised, again from rides in Holland, Singapore and Australia. Once again this money was used to support the pre-school, the PMTCT (the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (of the HIV Virus)) and for general running of the HOPE Centre in the absence of other significant fundraising.
In 2022, the 10th Anniversary year, a little depleted by the after effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, 14 riders completed the ride from Phnom Penh to Battambang and raised $66,000. NETSTRATA held an alternative fundraising event, in lieu of a bike ride, and raised an impressive $23,000.
This money will be used to fund the HIRO’s pre-school and the extension program, CCED, which we now operate to ensure that, where necessary, children who complete HOPE’s pre-school program can go on to government primary school to continue their education.
With this year’s money the HIRO’s have raised in excess of $1.3 million over the last 10 years. This money has ensured that very poor young children are receiving a basic education and some supplementary nutrition.
Not only is this a very significant amount of money but this money has helped HOPE to survive, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic, as a Community Care Organisation in Battambang, Cambodia. It represents a magnificent effort by many caring people over a long period of time.
Thank You Sincerely
Hope for Cambodian Children Foundation Incorporated