Published: 11:06, June 18, 2024
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Cyclist on yearlong fundraiser ride to aid children's hospitals
By The Phnom Penh Post / ANN
Tiv Dararith takes a break after reaching Ao Nang Beach in Thailand’s Krabi province in July 2023. He has set off on an extraordinary mission: a year-long, 20,000-kilometre cycling odyssey from Cambodia to Europe. (PHOTO / THE PHNOM PENH POST)

Long-distance cyclist Tev Dararith set off on an extraordinary mission on June 4, a yearlong odyssey stretching 20,000 kilometers from Cambodia to Europe.

The ambitious expedition aims to generate $250,000 in support of children's hospitals, particularly the Angkor Hospital for Children as it marks its 25th anniversary.

Dararith's meticulously planned route, spanning 25 countries, has garnered widespread support from both the Cambodian government and the Angkor Hospital for Children.

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At a news conference on June 3, Neth Pheaktra, Cambodia's minister of information, expressed the ministry's backing for Dararith's humanitarian endeavors, emphasizing Cambodia's commitment to children's rights and welfare.

"I take pride in being Cambodian and spreading awareness of my country through humanitarian efforts," Pheaktra said. "The fundraising efforts will benefit two hospitals, Kantha Bopha Hospital and Angkor Hospital for Children."

With six years of experience in deep forest adventure travel in remote areas, Dararith aims to address the lack of hospitals, schools and medical supplies in the country by raising funds to assist Cambodian children.

Last year, Dararith embarked on a journey of 9,000 km across Southeast Asia to raise funds for the hospital. Starting his mission on May 31, 2023, Dararith cycled through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, aiming to raise $50,000.

Despite facing challenges such as bike breakdowns and illness, he remained committed and raised nearly $60,000 by Aug 26.

The funds supported the Angkor Hospital for Children, providing healthcare to more than 400 children daily regardless of their financial situation. Dararith's efforts gained recognition and support from local and international philanthropists.

Va Virak, a member of the board of directors of the Angkor Hospital for Children, hailed Dararith as a Cambodian hero, especially for children, highlighting the hospital's crucial role in providing care for about 3 million children for more than 25 years.

He said it covers more than 100,000 children annually, with an average of about 400 consultations daily.

" (The hospital) each year allocates approximately $5 million to $6 million for its operations, with roughly 70 percent sourced from international philanthropy and 30 percent from local benefactors," Virak said.

Khan Touk, head of public relations at the Kantha Bopha Foundation, underscored the hospital's vital contributions, noting its role in facilitating the births of more than 23 million infants since its reopening in 1992.

Despite encountering visa hurdles in Myanmar and Afghanistan, Dararith has been granted unrestricted travel throughout Europe. He will navigate through Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkiye, bypassing Myanmar and Afghanistan by air because of travel restrictions.

Equipped with a high-quality bicycle capable of carrying nearly 100 kilograms of gear, Dararith is prepared for the challenges ahead.

His journey, spanning paved roads, dirt tracks and mountain paths, includes fundraising efforts potentially extending for another year after his return.

"I'll cycle from dawn till dusk, setting up camp and editing videos," Dararith said. His daily routine will include content creation and community engagement, with a focus on leveraging social media to draw attention to his cause and inspire donations.

Acknowledging the arduous nature of his journey, Dararith will undertake it solo, recognizing its unsuitability for ordinary cyclists.

Beyond a personal feat, Dararith's trip symbolizes hope for Cambodian children battling severe illnesses such as cancer and aims to effect substantial change through his unwavering determination and humanitarian spirit.