Joseph Ryan set himself a challenge in support of Sala Baï students and run over 180km in March! He has a few words to share with you and introduce his project:
I hope you are well and staying safe during these bizarre times!
During a year where many have taken up a string of new hobbies, I am going to use mine to try and do some good. I am going to attempt to run over 180km for charity in March.
Despite having arthritis affecting my joints since I turned 21, I took up running during the lockdown, something I have eternally struggled with. I hit the track making slow but steady progress, with a sprinkling of aches, stiffness and pain over the past year, striking off miniature milestones as I went. Now I would like to invest this progress into a good cause, one that has been affected badly by the epidemic.
I had the pleasure of visiting Sala Bai Hospitality School in 2019 with my fiancée on one of our first ever trips together. Sala Bai trains underprivileged youths with hospitality skillsets followed by assisting the students to find employment with the top hotels in Cambodia, allowing their families to be lifted out of poverty.
My hope was that I would leave with a girlfriend, when in fact I left with two passions instead of one.
My experience visiting the school was mind-blowing. The students were exceptionally heart-warming to be around. Their skillset in service was fantastic but the real experience was the opportunity to witness the enthusiasm and pride that the students exuded as they showed us their classes, an environment impossible not to appreciate.
Covid has been devastating for the school. With tourist arrivals near zero, most hotels and restaurants have been forced to close. An estimated 80% of Sala Bai’s graduates are now unemployed. USD $200 monthly incomes, supporting an average of 5 family members—ageing parents and young children—have been eliminated. The graduates' modest savings are wiped out. In Cambodia, one of the world’s poorest countries, there are no safety nets.
I am going to run 180km this March, and in doing so I hope that anyone reading this will feel encouraged to donate even the smallest amount to support Sala Bai. My distance may be small to some, but any donation will have a huge impact on the lives of the students. I shall be documenting my run weekly, with progress reports, views I’ve seen along the way and difficulties I've overcome.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope to catch up with many of you soon, and wish me luck!
What will you do?
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