Cycle of life for Asia orphans
A DOLLAR couple raised over £3000 for the New Life Centre Orphanage at Siem Reap in Cambodia through a charity cycle.
Almost 50 people participated in a 31-mile bike ride, on Saturday 25 August, around Loch Katrine in the Trossachs as part of Linda and Bruce Milroy's on-going fundraising activities.
The couple stumbled upon the orphanage by chance when on a cycling holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia last year.
"We had stopped by the roadside in Cambodia for something to eat when five children came up to us and handed out flyers they had made about their orphanage," explained Linda, who recently retired as nurse practitioner from Dollar Health Centre.
"They told us all about their lives and afterwards we couldn't stop thinking about them.
"The next day we arranged to visit the orphanage and the children excitedly greeted us. The man who runs it, Pahn Ratha, showed us around and it left a deep impression on us both. We instantly knew we wanted to do something to help."
According to Linda, the lack of money meant that conditions in the orphanage were very basic.
There were 25 children living in two rooms - 14 boys in one room sleeping on a concrete floor with no beds, and the girls in the other room sharing two double beds.
There were also two bamboo rooms, one which was used as a basic classroom even though there were no desks.
There was no kitchen and a basic toilet with no drainage but the children were still cheery.
Before the end of the couple's holiday they managed to raise £700 for the orphanage - which went towards things like rice and bouncy balls.
Since their return to Scotland Linda and Bruce, with the support of others, have been fundraising and there is a dedicated website for online donations.
Linda is returning to Cambodia in November where she plans to help teach the kids English and provide health advice.
She said, "I want to get more of a feel for the place when I am over there this time because we are planning many more fundraising activities for next year.
"This is only the beginning as far as we are concerned and the support of other people has been crucial to the success of the campaign so far."
More information is available on the orphanage and how to donate at www.orphanagesupportgroup.com
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 05 Sep 12
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