New Zealanders cycle to feed Vietnamese kids
Updated : 07/12/2012 11:06 GMT + 7
Two sisters, Kim McVinnie and Sally Hewlett, recently spent their summer holiday cycling across Vietnam to help reduce malnutrition among local children.
“I saw lovely smiles and heard hellos from local people on the way. That is the greatest motivation during the trip,” said Kim McVinnie.
Kim is one of the cyclists who travelled across Vietnam, starting in mid-June, in a program supported by the international organization ChildFund.
Kim said she joined the bike trip after an invitation from her sister, Sally Hewlett, ChildFund New Zealand’s Asia Programs Coordinator. Previously, Sally was researching health issues and living conditions of Vietnamese kids for the organization. She found out that 60 percent of children in the mountainous regions of northern Vietnam are facing serious developmental issues, and even death, from malnutrition and decided to do something to help out.
To prepare for the trip, the sisters had been fundraising from family, friends and online communities.
“I have never ridden this far and suffered heat of more than 25 degrees Celsius. Some roads were terrible, which left us down in the dumps. But we kept encouraging each other to go on,” recalled Kim.
For every province they visited, the group tried to discover a new lifestyle and local cuisine.
“I am impressed with the close-knit nature of Vietnamese families. I feel the warmth from the people,” shared Sally.
US$4,500 was raised as they cycled for a distance of 700 kilometers. The money will go to ChildFund Vietnam’s Appeal to provide nutritious meals, which are called ‘sprinkles’, to 1,200 children in poor and isolated areas in the northern province of Cao Bang.
The New Zealander cyslists on their way to cycle along Vietnam