Good People Good Work
 
On Trails of Compassion: Cross-Country Feats For Children in Need      
Welcome, adventurous viewers, to this week’s edition of Good People, Good Works on Supreme Master Television, featuring amazing individuals with superb endurance and unwavering determination to raise money for children in need through long distance running and bicycling.

First, we’ll meet Swiss cyclists Beat Fey, Matthias Dudler and Graziano Gervas, who completed a 12,000-kilometer bicycle trip from Zurich, Switzerland to Shanghai, China, in four stages over four years, to raise funds for the SOS Children’s Villages International. SOS Children’s is dedicated to bringing up orphaned and abandoned children in specially built villages. The charity has national associations in 132 countries and territories across the globe.

One might ask, how did the unique idea of cycling the world for vulnerable kids come about? Let’s find out from Beat Fey.

It all started with ur, the realization of a dream of my good friend Matthias, who wanted to ride from Zurich (Switzerland) to Moscow (Russia) with a bicycle, and we realized that in 2006.

And after that, our experience was so great, we had so many good memories that we thought we have to do something more. And the idea then came up to ride all the way from Zurich to Shanghai (China) by bicycle, because I was there in Shanghai a year before, and got to know that the World Exposition was going to be in Shanghai. So we extended our project from Zurich to Shanghai, and we wanted to raise money for these SOS Children’s Villages, which every stage we chose a different village.

So the first was in St. Petersburg in Russia. The second is in Kazakhstan and the third in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and the last one then on the way to Shanghai, in Tianjin (China) and Beijing (China).

So, you actually helped four villages. That’s great. (That’s right.) How much money did you raise on this trip?

Matthias: I think we raised around 100,000 Swiss Francs (US$121,305). So, we’re talking for each village about 25,000 Swiss Francs (US$30,322), which is not that big over here in our country, but over there I’m pretty sure that they can even build houses or take more kids in these villages.

For their incredible efforts and commitment to uplifting the lives of orphaned and abandoned children around the world, Supreme Master Ching Hai contributed US$10,000 to SOS Children’s Villages International in the cyclists’ names. In addition, our Association members, on Supreme Master Ching Hai’s behalf, presented each member of the three-man team with vegan chocolates and a selection of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s DVDs and books, including the #1 international bestsellers “The Birds In My Life,” “The Dogs In My Life,” and “The Noble Wilds.”

Thank you very much.

Thanks a lot. Thank you very much.

On behalf of our team, of Beat, Matt and myself, we would like to say thank you very much to Supreme Master Ching Hai for this great donation; also, in the name of the children at SOS Children’s Villages, the organization and of all children who will benefit from this money, which has been spent. And I think it’s a very exceptional amount. I don’t think we had a single amount so big as this US$10,000. Thank you very much and I hope we can do something in the future (Thank you very much.) and thanks again.

Now we’ll travel to Canada to visit with Martin Parnell, an inspiring 55-year old runner who ran 250 marathons over a year’s time. In other words, by running an average of five marathons a week, he covered an astounding 10,550 kilometers in just 12 months! He called his self-imposed challenge the “Marathon Quest 250” and through his outstanding feat raised over US$300,000 to benefit disadvantaged children. He got the idea for Marathon Quest 250 while cycling across the continent of Africa.

In 2005, six years ago, I did a cycling trip across Africa. A group of us cycled from Cairo (Egypt) to Cape Town (South Africa), (over) four months, (and though) 10 countries. And during that trip, I had some opportunities to really link up particularly with kids along the way. In Sudan, I played soccer with kids and there the soccer ball, as it is, wasn’t a soccer ball. It was just a bunch of rags tied up into a bundle.

To help less-privileged children like those he met during his cycling journey, Mr. Parnell chose the Canada-based non-profit “Right To Play” as his sponsored organization for Marathon Quest 250.

Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses the transformative power of sport and play to change outcomes for children in over 20 countries around the world now. We are in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. What we do is use sports and lessons through coaches who are volunteers. We have over 15,000 volunteers who have been trained in the Right To Play methodology, and we give these coaches the tools to teach children essential life skills. So these are strategies that they can learn, to change outcomes in their communities in regards to issues of poverty, disease and conflict.

What are some of the games that these children play?

We have hundreds and hundreds of games; and depending on which countries we are invited and what communities and what their challenges are, we will introduce a different set of curriculum to address those challenges. So I can give you a quick example. One game that we play in some African countries where malaria is a problem is “malaria tag.” And the kids will play what we commonly know as “freeze tag.”

And so they will play this game and through the game, they will learn all the symptoms of malaria. They will learn that if you get the symptoms that you need to see a doctor, and they live the lesson so they understand the dangers of malaria but also how to address that. There are different games that we play, which teach them that you have to use a mosquito net at night and it is very important to do that and also how the disease is transmitted.

Martin Parnell is a hero to Right To Play. He basically adopted us. He approached us some time ago and told us this extraordinary challenge that he had set for himself, which is to run 250 marathons in a year.

So you decided to take him up on the challenge after how long?

It was really after the first meeting that he convinced us that we should be supporting his activities and we thought it was brilliant and it turned out magnificently. He has raised over a quarter of a million (US) dollars through his efforts, and that’s helped tens of thousands of children benefit from our programs.

Hearing of his Marathon Quest 250 initiative to better the welfare of less fortunate children globally, Supreme Master Ching Hai provided Martin Parnell with US$10,000 to support his endeavors and gifted him with a number of her DVDs and books including “The Love of Centuries” and “From Crisis to Peace.” The generous Mr. Parnell immediately passed on the donation to Right To Play.

Thank you so much. That is so cool.

Robert, I would like to present you with a check for US$10,000 to Right To Play and the brilliant work that Right To Play is doing. Thank you very much. That’s fantastic!

The presentation of the check to myself and for Right To Play is absolutely terrific. And I would like to say to Master Ching Hai, “Thank you so much.” This is just amazing; the works that she has done, and I did have a look (at some of them), are absolutely fantastic. The US$10,000 will be helping a large number of children with Right To Play programs and give them some key skills. Thank you.

Mr. Parnell later wrote a kind thank you letter to Supreme Master Ching Hai, the following of which is an excerpt. To Supreme Master Ching Hai, 2010 was very special for me. I was blessed to be able to run 250 marathons and raise over $300,000 for the children’s charity Right To Play. In June 2011, I will be traveling to the West African country of Benin. I will visit a school for blind children and one for deaf children. Some of the funds I raised last year are being used in these schools.

It was an incredible honor to receive the $10,000 for my efforts in 2010. I have decided to donate the money to Right To Play. This will allow 200 underprivileged children to benefit from a Right To Play program in 2011. Thank you for making this possible. All the Best, Martin Parnell

In appreciation of the financial support it received from Mr. Parnell’s compassionate undertaking, Right To Play also wrote a letter of thanks to Supreme Master Ching Hai. Here is an excerpt from Robert Witchel’s thoughtful letter.

Dear Supreme Master Ching Hai, For children, to play is to learn. Over 190 countries around the world have ratified the UN’s Convention of the Rights of the Child, which states that every child has certain basic rights, including the right to play. Regrettably, millions of children are confronted with challenges that most of us cannot even fathom such as war, poverty and disease. Headquartered in Canada, Right To Play is proud to be the global leader in sport for development and peace.

Every week over 700,000 children in 20 countries benefit from our programs and, with this gift, we can continue our work and expand our impact. Specifically, The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association’s donation of US$10,000 enables 200 children to participate in weekly sport-and-play activities for an entire year. Kind regards, Robert Witchel National Director, Canada Right To Play

Next to his signature, Robert Witchel added the following hand-written note to Supreme Master Ching Hai: “Thank you for your generous support of our work!” Beat Fey, Matthias Dudler, Graziano Gervas and Martin Parnell, we applaud the noble missions you have undertaken to improve the well-being of vulnerable children living in so many different nations and our accolades to SOS Children’s Villages International and Right To Play for their many years of exceptional charitable work that has benefited so many youngsters.

For more information on the guests and organizations featured today, please visit the following websites:
Martin Parnell www.MarathonQuest250.com
Right To Play www.RightToPlay.com
SOS Children’s Villages International www.SOS-ChildrensVillages.org

Cherished viewers, thank you for joining us on this edition of Good People, Good Works. May the innocence and purity of children rekindle the child’s spirit in us all.

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