Michael Milton and the Canberra Cycling Club joined forces to raise enough
money to buy new bicycles for 32 landmine clearance workers in Cambodia who
now have a safer, quicker way to get to work..
The mostly female landmine de-mining group from the Banteay Meanchey
province of Cambodia work full-time clearing landmines from high traffic
areas like river banks and roads. Many reported feeling tired from walking
up to 14km a day to and from work.
After hearing about their plight Austcare Ambassador, Michael Milton, asked
Canberra Cycling Club's help to raise the $1200 needed to buy bicycles.
"Obviously fatigue is no good when you're a de-miner and, although a bike
costs the equivalent of a month's food for a family of four in Cambodia,
it's only about $30 to us. It was pretty much a no-brainer," explained
Milton who began working with Austcare after visiting Kakuma Refugee Camp
in Kenyaand seeing first-hand some of the projects funded by the
humanitarian aid organisation.
Canberra Cycling Club doubled the entry fee for its annual club
championship at the new Stromlo Park Criterium Course, called for donations
and hosted a celebrity race. In one night they raised $2212, well above the
Michael Smith, CEO of Austcare, said it was a perfect example of how the
generosity of a small group of people can make an enormous difference.
"The power of a simple bicycle cannot be underestimated. They are safer
going to and from work, they are safer at work and they can spend more time
at home with their families.
"We really are so grateful to the Canberra Cycling Club and everyone who
helped raise the funds. They just didn't hesitate and I'm sure they will be
pleased to see the results," said Smith.
Austcare's landmine program in Cambodia is expanding in the coming months
and, thanks to the additional funds raised by the Stromlo Park racers, the
new workers will receive their bicycles immediately.
"That extra money will help to create more employment which in turn means
better health and education. These types of projects have a ripple effect
with flow-on benefits for people and communities," said Smith.