It’s *almost* adventure-time — I’ve been saving up my pennies and in two short months, I’m hitting the road again! This time, I’m going to Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, India, and the U.K…
It all started in 2009, when I met Roisin in Bolivia. We traveled together for a few weeks, through the red and gold cowboy country of southern Bolivia and into Argentina, where we cemented our friendship over many cones of ice cream and nights dancing in Buenos Aires. We’ve been ardent pen pals ever since. Nearly every week for five years, we’ve penned long emails to each other, sharing the highs, the lows and the minutiae of life; there’s probably enough text to fill a novel or two by now.
Since we are both turning 30 this year, we decided to celebrate together, and to do something amazing. We decided that our something amazing should include travel, obviously, but also should be beneficial to others in some way. We are both so lucky to be able to travel the world, and we want to pay our good fortune forward in some way.
To that end, us two and four other like-minded people, are doing a 6-day trek through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in August, and raising money for the Roots & Wings Foundation.
It started with a bag of coal that Roisin’s late father, Hugh Coulter, donated to an orphanage in Karakol when he was there working on an EU project in 2004. Things escalated quickly, and before they knew it, her family was fundraising for the orphanage and later for micro-credit loans. Shortly after he passed away, they were contacted by Danielle Riley, the founder of Roots & Wings, who had met Mr Coulter when she was in the Krygyz Republic working for Habitat for Humanity. She had not forgotten the work that they had been doing, and wanted to continue to support them. They have now joined forces, and Roisin’s mother, Jean Coulter, is the Senior Director of Global Programmes for Roots & Wings.
In the spirit of Roisin’s dad, a very generous ‘friend of the Irish’ in the US has agreed to match every donation we raise in June – dollar for dollar! His catchphrase, “A little goes a long way” rings doubly true now, and could not have come at a more appropriate time with the run up to Father’s Day.
With this in mind, we have decided to increase the target to an ambitious $50,000!!
More than 1/3 of the population in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country sandwiched between China and Kazahkstan, are deemed to be living in ‘extreme poverty’. Helping launch businesses here provides much needed job opportunities. We help the neediest people to never need help again.
Roots & Wings sponsors Micro-Credit projects in the Karakol region. In the past year, they have supported 14 businesses. These businesses cover many sectors, including: livestock, agriculture, production of boilers for heating, taxi, clothing, Veterinary Pharmacy, and chicken production. It is a breath of fresh air to see so many families benefiting from relatively small loans, and to see businesses grow in such difficult economic times.
Last year when Roots & Wings visited Karakol, they were introduced to a private kindergarten, Kinder Land, which demonstrated ‘Best Practice’ in early childhood education. They set up two scholarships for children of disadvantaged families. The intention is to give mothers the opportunity to find employment while the children are being well cared for and educated. Roots & Wings named the scholarship ‘Hugh’s Bear Cubs’ in memory of Roisin’s father. As well as the scholarships, they also set up a clothing fund for the Bear Cubs so that the children can fit in with their peers.
With all donations you will get our sincerest thanks, be published on the donor roll and we would like to include you on our mailing list so we can keep you up-to-date with Roots & Wings. These are examples of what your donations could do to make a difference:
$10* – could cover the cost of a fleece for one of Hugh’s Bear Cubs.
$20 –this could provide a winter coat for a child as part of the clothing fund established to provide warm clothes for children in need in the winter.
$100 – this could fund a Hugh’s Bear Cub clothes for the school year so that the Bear Cub will fit in with his peers in Kinder Land.
$300 – $1,000 – this could provide Micro-credit loans.
* in U.S. currency
Please help us empower the in-need people of Kyrgyzstan and leave a donation: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jamiemphillips/karakolhike
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All funds raised by this project will go to the Roots & Wings Foundation.
A great big thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of the hike!! xo