Trekking in Solidarity 2017
11 Apr 17
Trek through Nepal and raise money for the region at the same time? That’s the idea behind Caritas Australia’s 13-day ‘Trekking in Solidarity’ trip in November 2017. We spoke to some participants from last year’s ‘Cycling in Solidarity’ trip to Cambodia to find out why charitable adventures are so valuable, from both a personal and international development perspective.
In November this year, up to 20 participants will join Caritas Australia on a charity trek through Nepal. Hosted by charity partner Inspired Adventures, the trip will enable participants to witness first-hand the challenges facing Nepal, visit the programs Caritas Australia supports in the area, and fundraise to make a difference to communities in need.
Cycling in Solidarity - Cambodia 2016
Participants from our 2016 ‘Cycling in Solidarity’ adventure to Cambodia described their trip as enormously beneficial from a personal perspective, as well as uplifting when it came to seeing how local community groups tackled the challenges of poverty.
Cycling in solidarity Cambodia 2016. Photo: Caritas Australia.
“The adventure was a challenge, not a holiday,” said Philip Lawler, a 2016 Cycling in Solidarity participant. “The ride gave the group the opportunity to live with local people and to see first-hand the determination and strength to succeed that exists within these communities.”
Peter Elford and Fiona Wilkinson, a couple who also participated in the Cambodia trip, agree. “Being on a trip that ‘meant something’, as opposed to just sight-seeing, was a definite positive from the experience,” they said.
“We shared an experience with like-minded people and also had an opportunity to be exposed directly to the challenges of poverty, and the approaches to alleviating it.”
The experience gave us new insight into the reality of poverty in the world and how we can make a difference through our contributions to Caritas.
The Trekking in Solidarity trip – as the name suggests – is also a fitness challenge. Last year, participants cycled over 350km throughout Cambodia. This year participants will trek for six days across the famous Annapurna trail.
Completing a fitness fundraising challenge is already an achievement, but according to last years’ participants, meeting locals and visiting Caritas-supported programs was perhaps the most memorable part.
“The highlight for me was speaking to a grandmother (with the help of a translator) in a slum about how life had dealt her a hand that would be viewed by many of us as unfair,” said Philip.
“We held hands as she told me that she was happy in the knowledge that her grandson who had grown up in the slum had managed to gain an education. She believed that her grandson and other educated young people are the future of Cambodia.”
Peter and Fiona echoed this sentiment: “The cycling experience was a real achievement but the experience of meeting people, especially those empowered by the work of Caritas and the local NGOs was very powerful.”
Why sign up to the trek to Nepal? Philip Lawler sums it up: “There are a number of reasons, which include: getting fit, meeting other community minded people, experiencing the culture and daily life of the Nepalese and knowing your fund raising efforts directly assist those less fortunate.”