When Monique went to Home BTN for the first time in 2019 as part of a school fundraiser and trip in support of Hands, she knew she would come back. In January, Monique lived our her promise when she rode from Chiang Mai to Baan Tharn Namchai, finishing at Hands Across the Water's BTN home over the course of four weeks and raising over $10,000 for Hands. She shares her story with us below...
How I became involved with Hands:
In 2019 I went on school a fundraising trip with MLC (Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne) partnered with Hands Across the Water. We raised funds over a year then travelled to Thailand to see our money put to good use. This trip changed my life. We managed to raise over $10,000 in a group of about 20 girls then we spent a week playing with the kids and also concreting areas at Baan Than Namchai. I absolutely fell in love with the kids and quickly realised that I would have to follow through with my promise of coming back because once all of those kids have hugged you and held your hand, you fall in love with them and the home. After being inspired by this experience and promising those kids that I would return one day I decided to raise funds and return to Thailand once again, but not just for one week.
Favourite Hands Memory:
When I think of my favourite memory at Hands it’s the small things that I remember - holding hands with the kids and making them giggle. Those moments are pure bliss just being surrounded by love and joy. Your hands are never lonely when there are those kids around and I love it.
Top tips for fundraising:
My top tip for fundraising is make the most of your network! You will never know how generous some people will be if you share your and Hands story and commitment.
Since I seem to be going with the hand holding theme I loved this quote - "Holding hands is a promise to one another that we will never let go of one another and where ever life takes us, we’ll always be there for each other” - Unknown
I would also say that the biggest challenge that I faced was actually before the trip. I felt like I was cheating doing a more ‘holiday bike ride’ rather than a tough solo cycling trip like the ones Hands offered. However the funds were supporting Hands and on my trip I got to understand and see Thailand and its people as a country in a way that excited me. So I guess the lesson from this is that everyone’s journey’s look different and there is always more than one way to do something like fundraise and ride for Hands.