Irma and Oliver Zimmermann will cycle 500km from Bangkok next February to help raise $280,000 to build accommodation for up to 100 children orphaned by the 2004 Asian Tsunami and disease. They will be part of a group of 50 riders pedalling for the cause.
Teenage daughters Gita and Tiana will travel with them to support the ride and work alongside orphans who have already been helped by generous Aussies.
But to make the trip, their challenge is to raise $10,000 in donations to show organisers they are committed to the goal.
Every dollar pledged will go directly to the construction of two new orphanages – one for boys and one for girls. The Zimmermann’s will pay for their own flights and accommodation while they are in Thailand.
They were stirred to act after learning about the plight of orphans, including some who are forced into prostitution to survive, on a recent visit to the country.
“We were horrified and deeply touched to learn of the injustice and suffering caused by sex slavery and felt compelled to do something. We were moved to take action and have a strong urge to make a difference to these kids left without families through no fault of their own,”
The ride has been organised on behalf of Hands Across the Water (HATW) – a charity set up by a former Australian Federal Police forensic specialist, Peter Baines, who helped identify victims of the tsunami.
More than $9 million has been raised in the decade since the disaster to support hundreds of orphans at several locations in Thailand. The charity is also administering a fund that has raised almost $250,000 for the care of baby Gammy, who was allegedly abandoned by an Australian couple in the Thai surrogacy scandal.
Mornington bike shop Sealy’s Cycles is sponsoring the Zimmermann ride and a fundraising event is being planned for later this year as they strive to reach their donation target of $5,000 each.
“It’s a great cause. I wish them well and I urge people to support them all the way to Thailand,”
shopowner Peter Seal said.
Donations can be made and more information on Irma’s & Oliver’s personal stories can be found by clicking the links below:
Press Release written by Pat Briscoe (Freelance Journalist, Publicist, Strategist and Commentator)