I am raising money to support the children of Hands Across the Water because I believe that all children deserve to build a future full of possibilities, opportunities and dreams - a life of choice, not chance.
Hands Across the Water (Hands) started as a charity in response to the Boxing Day Tsunami. Now Hands supports 350+ children living in 7 homes and projects across Thailand.
The kids who come to live in a Hands home are there because they have no choice. Hands not only provides the life-saving necessities for the kids in their care, they also support many families in an outreach program to help keep kids out of the homes.
The support of donors allows for not only food and shelter for these kids, but also allows for Hands to help these kids see the opportunities that lie before them, to see a life of choice.
Jellis Craig has been supporting Hands since 2014, when they came on board as one of the Jellis Craig Foundation founding partners. Since that time, Jellis Craig has had 6 team members complete the Ride to Provide charity bike ride over the years, including one of Director completing the ride twice. The Jellis Craig Foundation has fundraised and donated over $400,000 to HATW, this has enabled us to fund the build of one of the Hands homes in the North East of Thailand, PAMA House and also contribute towards education, food and infrastructure costs.
In January 2024, Sophie Blay from Jellis Craig Stonnington and Khom Falla from Jellis Craig Boroondara will be travelling to Thailand to complete the 500km ride. Both Sophie and Khom are looking forward to the experience and reaching their fundraising goals to support the children and provide them with a better future. We sat down with Sophie and Khom to find out why this initiative was so important to them and what they are most looking forward to with their impending journey.
Can you please go into a little bit of detail as to your reason for doing this bike ride?
Khom ~ I spent the first 6 years of my life in an orphanage in Thailand. I know how lucky my sister and I were to be adopted to Australia where our lives changed drastically and for the better. I have always appreciated the second chance I received in life and feel eternally grateful for the opportunities I have been given. When I first heard about this experience with Hands, the main motivation for me was the opportunity to give back and do my part to help others. Being able to help change the lives of others for the better is so powerful and fulfilling. I want to do my part in this, big or small I know it goes a long way.
Sophie ~ I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the materialistic lifestyle, especially when you are living and working in Australia with all the opportunities that this provides. I think it’s a great thing to be able to give back to those less fortunate and have a more realistic perspective of life. Being with Khom has made me realise how much impact we can have on a person’s life.
Why did this initiative by the Jellis Craig Foundation stand out or make sense to you?
Khom ~ This initially stood out to me because of how I started in life, growing up in an Orphanage in Thailand. This initiative from the Jellis Craig Foundation really hit home and as soon as we heard about this opportunity, we knew we had to take part.
Sophie ~ This initiative from the Foundation stood out to me because of Khom’s background. When the Foundation presented this opportunity, it really pulled on our heartstrings and we saw the opportunity to give back as something we couldn’t possibly miss out on.
Tell me about your bike riding history? Do you ride regularly currently?
Sophie and Khom ~ Neither of us have too much experience bike riding… We can both ride a bike but that’s about it.
How is the training going? Do you have a training plan in place?
Sophie and Khom ~ We are Body Fit enthusiasts and have been training at our local four times a week for a while now. We have just started implementing spin classes in conjunction with this and we are also going to start the training program provided by Hands Across the Water.
Wish us luck!
Have you been to Thailand or any surrounding countries previously? Tell us about your travels to the area if relevant?
Sophie ~ Yes, I have been to Thailand once, but this was for a VERY different holiday. I went to the infamous Full Moon Party… I am looking forward to seeing more of the country this time around.
Khom ~ I have been back to Thailand 3 or 4 times now. I have traveled back for a number of holidays with my family, exploring our country of birth and visiting the orphanage my sister and I grew up in. The last time we went was in 2019 where we met our birth mother for the first time, finding and visiting the home we grew up in which was a located in a rural area outside of Bangkok. The home was positioned on a family farm within a community which was on the river. We also by chance met our great uncle who still lived in the community and remembered who we were.
Have you spoken to anyone else who has done this ride / initiative? What was their advice?
Khom ~ Yes, I have spoken to my managing director who has completed the ride twice in 2014 and 2020. Aside from the obvious advice around training preparation, he also mentioned it was a wonderful idea to partake in the ride alongside someone else so that you could share the experience.
What are you most looking forward to?
Sophie ~ The feeling of accomplishment and knowing that we are really changing people’s lives.
Khom ~ Going back to my home country and being able to go on this incredible journey with Soph. I am also looking forward to being able to do something meaningful and impacting lives for the better
Together we can truly make a difference - Donate now!
Received first donation
Reached 50% of Fundraising Goal
Reached 100% of Fundraising Goal
Thank you to my Sponsors
Dale Lockyer (geezair)
Nordy & Suzy
Paula And Sam Logan
Enid Brumby (nanna)