University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame Students Ride for Cambodia
submitted on October 6, 2010
Over the course of three days leading up to the ND-Pitt game, individuals will use the blood pulsing through their veins and the passion in their hearts to go absolutely nowhere in support of PEPY, an NGO supporting rural Cambodian communities to improve their standards of living and quality of education. PEPY was founded by Daniela Papi, a Notre Dame alumna who, while living in Japan, set off on a bike ride across Cambodia with some friends to raise funds to build a school in a rural community outside Siem Reap (home of the famous Angkor Wat). Through first investing money in school buildings, they learned that investing time in people, not merely giving things away, is what encourages people to take actions to improve their own communities. New schools do not educate children – quality teachers do. And objects do not change lives, people knowing how to use them or make them does. Today, through partner government schools and informal education initiatives, PEPY supports education for more than 1,700 families in 12 villages and 10 schools in rural Siem Reap province. Because PEPY believes education is the key to sustainable change, it is committed to a holistic approach, which empowers children, parents, teachers, and communities to effect the changes they want to see in their lives. Although a lot has changed since that initial bike ride, the basic ethos is still the same: by making small changes in our lives and continually striving to educate ourselves about the problems around us, we can all take leadership roles in improving our own lives and the world. In support of this philosophy, PEPY is two legal entities: a nonprofit facilitating capacity building and education programs in rural Cambodia, and a for-profit (PEPY Tours) offering educational tours to raise global awareness about this country’s development as well as funds for the nonprofit’s ongoing programs. Notre Dame Bikes Cambodia: Pedal with Purpose is an event on campus that is being organized by the Notre Dame Sports Business Club and PEPY, and will run from the 6-8 of October. Two stationary bikes will be set up in front of the South Dining Hall on Campus leading up the ND-Pitt game. They will be used for a simulated bike ride tracking a 360 mile route from one side of Cambodia to the other. Individuals can sign up for any time from 10 minutes to 3 hours. The event will bring together students, professors, local businesses, and Notre Dame “celebrities” to help raise much-needed funds for PEPY as well as to create awareness about the work that PEPY does in Cambodia. What do bikes have to do with Cambodia? Bikes are the primary mode of transport for students to and from school. They are a lifeline to education for young people, where just getting to school can be a huge hurdle. In addition, PEPY runs bike tours every year to all corners of the country with participants learning about responsible tourism, development, the environment – issues in the world that affect us all. Notre Dame Bikes Cambodia is going to be a big event; but we need your help to make it huge!
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