2019 Oct 31
The OYOB (Own Your Own Block) Tuk Tuk Ride which commenced on the 1st of October successfully concluded on the 9th of October at the Foundation of Goodness project headquarters and flagship venue, the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama, Hikkaduwa. During this ride, 28 intrepid Australians took on the challenge of driving 13 tuk tuks from Chilaw to Habarana via Anuradhapura, Kandy, Udawalawa and Seenigama. It was a family affair with the 13 people driving the tuk tuks bringing along their partners, parents and children as well.
It was an emotional journey for most, as David Ruthenberg recounted their motivation behind making this journey, “It is about supporting a cause that is not only worthwhile but something that is very dear to all of us. A trip like this, for me, opens the heart and feeling the love that comes back to us from everyone is pretty overwhelming”.
Along the route the team made a special pit stop at FoG’s Mahawilachchiya Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) Centre which has been set up in partnership with Lovina Charles’ ‘Charles Education Centre’ in the Anuradhapura District. The proceeds of this charity ride will help to support this Centre, in addition to two other VHE Centres in Batticaloa and Moneragala.
This is the second OYOB Tuk Tuk Ride organised by the group, with the Moneragala VHE Centre being sponsored last year, following the 2018 ride. We are delighted that their efforts have grown this year to include two more centres, which in total will provide a variety of educational and vocational services to over 1,800 rural women, children and youth annually, free of cost.
The group are embracing a rising global trend in community aid tourism where participants have the opportunity to explore a new country while contributing in meaningful ways to uplift and empower the local community. An exercise in sustainable tourism where guests are able to engage in a truly immersive experience that leaves behind a legacy of empowerment.
“It’s been amazing. It’s such a great way to meet and build relationships with people. The Centre here is amazing, you’ve done such a good job and the children are wonderful. The whole experience was just beautiful.” said OYOB Property Tuk Tuk Rider Mary Ignatidis speaking of day 01 of the Tuk Tuk Ride.
“The Foundation of Goodness is a perfect example of how to support people in rural areas. They do extraordinary work with such dedication and caring to improve the lives of the people in so many ways by giving them learnings, opportunities, training, medical care, dental care, purified water and much more.” added Bertram Daniel.
The travellers also visited a number of iconic landmarks along the way, hiking up the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, visiting the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy and going on a safari ride to see elephants at the Udawalawa National Park followed by a visit to the Elephant Transit Home.
“It was amazing to see the wild Sri Lanka and see animals in their environment. I was so excited, I felt like I was in paradise.” said Amalia Vincze, following her visit to Udawalawa National Park.
Putting the ‘community aid’ in community aid tourism, the travellers made their final stop in Seenigama at FoG’s MCC Centre of Excellence where they spent the whole day volunteering their time to teach English and conduct personal growth workshops. Their biggest surprise was seeing FoG’s dedicated trustee and legendary cricketer Kumar Sangakkara at the MCC Centre of excellence together with our Trustee Kushil Gunasekera to welcome the riders.
“It’s incredible to see how small ideas and endeavours can make huge differences” said Kumar Sangakkara.
That night, at the farewell dinner the group were joined by musician Rukshan Perera who performed a special song he had composed for Sri Lanka.
This event would not have been possible without the OYOB Property Group (Australia) who organised the ride as well as all our sponsors including Cinnamon Hotels, SriLankan Airlines, SNAP Fitness, TASC, DS Advisor, MDS Commercial Finance, SAOC, Apical, VP Homes, Strata PNA, Red 23, Educating Kids, Excell Gray Bruni, d>2b, Buckets of Money, Plan to Prosper, Adept Accounting & Taxation, Invest Capital, Paradigm Financial, Venture Advisory, Consult Empower, Doing Good Foundation, Doing Good Rewards, Fern Financial and Next Chapter Accounting.
We are also incredibly appreciative of our invaluable service partner David Pieris Motor Company (Pvt) Ltd who provided training for all of our riders and accompanied the ride in their service vehicle, making sure it was a safe and smooth trip from start to finish.
The Foundation of Goodness Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres are designed to empower rural disadvantaged villagers, especially through English and IT which are essential to reduce the levels of poverty. Other programmes also include life skills & values, educational subjects, vocational training and sports to help them make better progress in overcoming the disparity between the urban and rural communities. To date, there are 10 Centres established in Galle Moneragala, Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Bandarawela and Anuradhapura Districts, supporting 6,000+ beneficiaries to be stronger and better.
The Foundation of Goodness was established in 1999 and has worked extensively to develop a one of a kind holistic rural community development model which today delivers a wide range of programmes to over 28,000 beneficiaries annually from 400+ villagers in the South, North and East of Sri Lanka, free of charge, via 10 empowerment divisions which include Arts and Multimedia, Children, Enterprise & Empowerment, Environment, Housing, Dental, Medical & Psycho-social support, Scholarships, Sports Development & Management, Sustainable Income Generation, Village Heartbeat Empowerment Project, Village Welfare & Development and Volunteer Management.
To connect with The Foundation of Goodness and find out how you can help, visit: http://www.unconditionalcompassion.org/indexc.php