Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Our idea of running For Green Gecko Project

"Exotic Voyages has started to realize a very special idea : running for Green Gecko Project - a project helping more than 70 street children in Siem Reap, Cambodia in feeding, education, health care, vocational training. On behalf of our Exotic Voyages Team, I'm going to join the Angkor Half Marathon this December! We hope to receive much support for the great project for the former street children" 

Having spent two years living in Southeast Asia and enjoying all the area has to offer and being fortunate to see some wondrous sights and meet incredible people all over, I became aware how truly lucky I am and that I should not take this for granted and it was then I decided in someway I should give something back, to help those less fortunate who really need support.

Being lucky enough to work at a caring company ExoticVoyages who continually  work to support local communities, families and charities throughout Vietnam, with such great programs such as building schools, sponsoring a family on Halong Bay along with taking warm clothes each winter to the mountain villages just being a few of these. So, with these great ideas in mind, we decided to look to another one of our countries we work with to see if we can help. It was at this point I remembered how just two years ago our friends at The Heritage Suites work with a number of local charities, had helped with a program taking rice and other necessities to people affected by the terrible floods which many have forgotten already.  It wasn’t long before I was on the phone to Jam Nsouli from the hotel asking for her advices and indeed who this charity was! Soon after, I was introduced to the website of  The Green Gecko Project. The Green Gecko Project supports over 70 children who previously lived and begged on the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia. They provide security, education, love and opportunities to these children through their formative years and into their adult lives, empowering them to achieve their full potential. After some initial research, Tania Palmer, the founder of the charity and a real inspiration to many, soon answered the phone. We agreed that we would do all we can to help and bring the attention to their great cause.

Tania Palmer and her children when she decided to run Green Gecko Project

The first class on the very first day 
The former street children helped by Green Gecko Project have time to "play as a kid " now
We had decided that whatever we choose to do, this had to be a challenge and to be a real effort on our behalf, although a simple donation would be greatly welcomed no matter what the size! We wanted to do something much more and to really give back to a country that has given me so much.
With this in mind, I took myself out of my comfort zone and found myself accepting my biggest ever challenge and signing up to take part in the Angkor Wat half marathon in Siem Reap, home to the Green Gecko’s. So, in around twenty weeks time I have to train myself and be able to complete the twenty-two Kilometers within three hours, which in a runner may be very straightforward. However, if you consider I have never run this far and indeed had little exercise in 20 years this really is a colossal challenge and not merely about the run on the first December, it is about changing my daily life to try and help another’s life change daily.

What we are hoping to do is raise awareness of the great work by the Green Gecko project along with hopefully bringing some financial reward to help them continue their great work. Any support would be welcomed whether just vocally or financially we welcome all.

Exotic Voyages are planning many events to help promote the half marathon and the charity project. We are also creating a unique tour of which a portion of the money will be given to the charity. This will give travellers a great way to support a charity whilst taking their own luxury trip to Asia. Hopefully this will include time helping local people to see the day to day running in accordance with the Green Gecko’s rules.

By Andy Carroll 

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