The exact numbers of cyclo drivers in Phnom Penh is uncertain, but what we do know is that the people who do this exhausting job are amongst the poorest of urban poor in Cambodia. In 1999 the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh was established to improve the welfare of cyclo drivers through the provision of support services, basic medical care and livelihood support.
We are very pleased to announce that the Cyclo Centre is now one of the beneficiaries of The Intrepid Foundation Community Project Fund and donations received will be used to increase the profile of the Cyclo Centre, highlight the situation of cyclo drivers and to seek ways which increase the drivers’ self-sufficiency and sustainability of the Centre.
Intrepid travellers have the opportunity to see the valuable work of the Cyclo Centre in action when you tour Phnom Penh by cyclo. As well as seeing the sights and enjoying a personal introduction to the city from handlebar height, these tours increase the much-needed daily income for the drivers.
Having seen the way the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh reaches out to more than 1400 regular users of the Centre, providing everything from haircuts to help quitting smoking, Sherryn Bowers, HR Manager, and the Intrepid Indochina team were moved to make a difference and in May 2008 they undertook a sponsored ride to raise funds for the Cyclo Centre…
“People’s heads turned and mouths dropped as a green streak flashed through Phnom Penh’s early morning streets…Okay, slight exaggeration, 10 cyclos accompanied by a dozen cyclists outfitted in fluoro green shirts didn’t really burn rubber as they left town. However, we did make an awesome sight as we set off on our epic 320km (200 mile) journey through Cambodia to raise awareness of International No Tobacco Day and to raise funds for the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh.
It was fitting that 6 adventurous Intrepidites joined the ride, including 3 staff (Jane Dearden – Responsible Travel Co-ordinator, Poleak Kim – Khmer leader and myself, Sherryn Bowers), strongly supported by 3 friends of Intrepid!
If you have ever wanted to feel famous all you need do is ride through the back waters of Cambodia. People young and old ran from their doorways to greet us, waving, laughing, giving high-fives and offering shouts of encouragement. At one point I was convinced my legs could make the trip, but I wasn’t sure my voice would after calling out hello for the 100th time in the hour!
The global Intrepid team also got behind the event, with well-wishes and sponsorship pouring in from across the world. In fact, Spence and Greg from Intrepid’s USA office spontaneously hopped on their bikes the same weekend to join us in spirit by completing a 160km (100 mile) ride through Boulder, Colorado, generously adding the USA team’s sponsorship money to our total.
After completing our victory lap of Wat Phnom, celebrating with cocktails at Friends Restaurant and resting our weary legs, we were thrilled to realise we’d raised over USD1600, which after Intrepid generously matched our contribution dollar-for-dollar, sees us sending over USD3200 to the Cyclo Centre…Not bad for a few days ride.
It’s an amazing blessing to have an opportunity to have so much fun whilst ‘on the job’, knowing you’re also making a worthwhile difference in the world! Go Team Intrepid!”