Project Futures: Cambodian Cycle Challenge 2018
On Sunday 1 July, Samantha Parsons (Year 10), Rachel Parsons (’16), Jennifer Parsons (mum to Samantha and Rachel), Joe Nalewabau and myself, set off for Cambodia to take part in the Cambodian Cycle Challenge to raise money to help Project Futures transform the lives of women and children affected by human trafficking, slavery and sexual exploitation in Cambodia. We were joined by some other families and Clare Pearson (CEO Project Futures) a day later. The challenge went from Monday 2 July to Thursday 12 July and we cycled 402.1 km, visited many historical sites, enjoyed fresh local food and were supported by an amazing Cambodian cycle crew.
“Travelling through Cambodia by bike was one of the most unforgettable and unimaginable experiences you can have. It was a truly unique way to see the country and though the kilometres were long, one by one we worked our way to our overall goal of 400km. On the first day spirits were high, but the prospect of riding that far was quite daunting. We saw amazing landscapes and met wonderful people content with their lives which to our standards are very simple. Though physically the trip was hard it was all worth it when, on our last day we saw the girls in the safe house being cared for and given a proper home. It was hard to think of the situations that they have come out of but that is why the work that Project Futures do in collaboration with AFESIP is so important. Raising awareness for the prevention of sex/human trafficking is a growing and particularly important cause to our school. If anyone is interested in learning more, completing an immersion trip or the cycle, I encourage you to challenge yourself and do it for the girls.”
Samantha Parsons, Year 10
“The Cambodian cycling challenge has been one of the most amazing things I have done in my life. While it was both emotionally and physically challenging (I definitely didn’t do enough preparation in the lead up to the cycle), it has been an amazing journey of self-reflection, resilience and perseverance. While raising funds and awareness about the plight of the many girls and women in Cambodia who have been sex-trafficked, nothing compares to the reality of actually meeting the survivors and those newly entered into the safe house. The trip gave me a newfound appreciation of my own life and put my own problems and challenges in perspective. At my lowest point on day three, when I thought I could not go on, I channelled the courage and strength of these brave and courageous women and girls. My physical discomfort and pain would ease and I would recover, and it paled in comparison of what these girls and women have been through. Kindness, self–compassion, love and hope is what will set us all free and we should never lose sight of this.”
Mrs Kylie Nalewabau
Mathematics Teacher and Kuring-Gai 4 Tutor