Australian-based charity Hands Across the Water, who help over 350 disadvantaged children and their communities in Thailand, has launched a 30-day virtual cycling challenge across June in a last-ditch effort to save the charity.
With International borders closed and travel restrictions likely to be in place for some time yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of Hands Across the Water’s ‘Ride to Provide’ fundraiser rides across Thailand have been cancelled for the rest of 2020. Each year, the rides and their associated fundraising components make up over $1,200,000 AUD (67%) of the annual $1,800,000 AUD needed in operating costs for the seven homes and over 350 kids and their communities which Hands supports.
Peter Baines, founder of Hands, says, “The world is on hold. Training is on hold. Fundraising is on hold. But the kids’ lives we support, we cannot put them on hold. We cannot leave their lives to chance. We would be turning the clock back 15 years, prior to Hands becoming involved…their futures would be grim; and in some cases, fatal.”
The charity is determined not to let the kids down and be defeated by COVID-19. In an effort to diversify the experience and an eight to keep the charity afloat, Hands has launched a virtual cycling experience called the ‘Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge’. Cycling 800km over the 30 days of June, riders will take to their bikes, spin bikes and wind trainers from the comfort of their lounge rooms, logging onto an interactive Zoom experience that mimics the actual ride from Petchaburi to Khao Lak in Thailand.
The 800km route has been recorded via Go Pro and will be edited into Virtual Zoom Backgrounds each day for riders to experience the exact route and amazing Thai scenery virtually. Australia’s SBS TV network and renowned Tour De France commentator, Mike Tomalaris, will join the Virtual Challenge as host and ambassador, bringing the daily Zoom experiences to life with celebrities and other notable appearances.
“The work Hands is doing in Thailand is incredible and lifesaving. Having just come back from Thailand in January, before the borders closed, completing a 500km Ride to Provide experience in person, I can personally recommend the Virtual Challenge to anyone!”, says Mike Tomalaris, SBS Commentator.
Each registrant for the ‘Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge’ is required to raise $500 for Hands, with the goal of alleviating $500,000 of the current fundraising deficit and keeping the charity afloat.
The Virtual Challenge kicked off on June 1st, 2020, and runs for 30 days till June 30th. If you’d like to take part you can still join mid way by registered at this link:
Or perhaps you’d prefer to support a rider by making a donation. Matt Rickard, Co-founder of tech company Task, is doing the ride from Pai by clocking up daily kilometres around the local valley. “I’ve known Hands for 14 years and so was happy to jump on the bike and raise something towards the total. A great cause and also an ideal way to get back into shape after the lockdown” says Matt
You can support Hands by donating at his fundraising page:
Here’s also a podcast discussion that Matt had with Peter last month:
About Hands Across the Water:
Peter Baines OAM was a NSW Police forensic investigator for 22 years and led the Australian and International teams following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. He was deployed into Thailand for several months leading the teams in the identification of the 5,395 bodies that were recovered.
On his last rotation in Thailand, he met a group of children who had all lost their parents. He then made a commitment to raise funds and contribute to building them a new home. And so Hands Across the Water was born.
In 2011, Hands Group was established as a social enterprise to meet all the administrative and fundraising costs of Hands Across the Water – which ensures that 100% of donations made to Hands goes directly to the children and communities who support them. Not one cent of donors’ money is spent on administration or fundraising. Hands Group is a true social enterprise, undertaking its own commercial activities to generate funds (not through donations).
Hands have seven different properties that we support in Thailand, and our commitment is long-term: we see them into and through university – and currently have 47 children studying various courses across Thailand’s Universities, with a growing alumnus of already-graduated students.
For the kids and communities in Thailand whose lives are positively changed each and every day, Hands measures the impact of their work, not on the number of kids, not on the number of homes and not on the amount of money raised – while they can certainly be tangible measure – but on the one metric we value the most: the choices the kids have when they leave home.
For Hands PR and Media Enquiries contact:
Head of Sales and Marketing
+61 420 717 201