Four dirt-bikers blew into Sunrise Children’s Village in Siem Reap on Monday, to the delight of over 50 orphans and disadvantaged kids from the village.
The four Aussie friends – Mat Shepherd, Geoff Pollard, Paul Fallon and Tom Bender – were stopping in Siem Reap as part of a 14,000km ride, called City2Sunrise, across Southeast Asia to raise awareness about abandoned children in the region and to raise funds for the Australia Cambodia Foundation, which funds the village.
They began in Singapore before coming up through Malaysia and Thailand, and will now wind in a circuitous route through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
Kids at the village – ranging from infants to 18 year olds – were thrilled by the roar of the motorbikes and clapped and cheered as the team entered. They then performed a ceremony for the Aussies, raising the Cambodian flag, singing a welcome song and reading a few notes of gratitude.
The City2Sunrise crew came bearing gifts of white T-shirts with their slogan on the back: “4 bikes, 4 blokes, for charity!”
So far they’ve raised nearly A$100,000 from donors through their website (20 percent of which will go back to them for costs of the project), and they’re only three weeks into their three month journey.
“It’s good because money goes directly to the Australia Cambodia Foundation accounts and it’s tax deductible,” said Shepherd.
The four bikers have a documentary film crew filming their journey. When they finish the film, they plan to pitch it to channels such as National Geogrpahic and Discovery.
Donations can be made at Citytosunrise.com.