So we wanted to write a quick post just to give a quick update on how things are looking from the road.
The biggest news has definitely got to be our current distance count. For those who have been following along on our Command Center page or homepage stats, you’ll notice that we passed a big landmark a few days ago- 25,000km. This was big for us because when we first set out from Beijing nearly 4 months ago now, this was our original goal. You’ll notice from our map, that we are still a long way off from Beijing. This is because there has since been a new record set- 29,034.23km (18,041miles) set by Steven H. Siler from the U.S. set in the U.S.
The goal posts have been moved then and we’re closing in on this new record. Only 3,000km left at the time of writing this until we have surpassed Steven and there are still 11 provinces that we plan on visiting. Of course this doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be a new record before we finish, and we have no way of knowing how much that record might be. Until that time though, we’ll be keeping the rubber to the road and seeing what adventures lie ahead!
It can be difficult to keep the blog caught up with our current progress as we like to provide in-depth stories from the road through this medium. If you are interested in getting more up to date updates on our progress however, including photos and road reports, we suggest you like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thegreatrideofchina or (for those who prefer their reports in Chinese) follow us on Weibo @骑行中国爱心之旅
Free Lunch For Children and Our Fundraising Goal
In related news, we also wanted to provide an update with regards to our partner charity and our fundraising levels. We have realized in hindsight that our original goal of raising RMB5mil may have been a little ambitious. Our thinking was that whether we reached the goal or not, what was important was that as much money as possible was raised for the underprivileged children of rural China.
This journey has been a learning experience into business, charity, and life in China as much as an adventure on a motorcycle. One of the important lessons we learned is that this type of fundraising activity, using a high profile trip as a fundraising and awareness vehicle for a non-profit, is still very novel in China. Thus, despite Free Lunch for Children being a very able charity and quite successful in achieving their stated mission, this particular trip has been a learning process for all of us involved.
With all that said, outside of the context of our original fundraising goal, we are very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far and would like to adjust our goal to something more achievable but that is still adequately ambitious.
At RMB3 ($.50 USD) per lunch, it costs about RMB660 to support one child for a full year of school lunches. With an approximate average of 90 kids per school, it would cost about RMB60,000 to support a school for a full year. Thus we have decided that as our goal we would like to raise enough money to support 2 schools for a full school year, for a fundraising goal of RMB120,000 (USD$19,695.70 at the current exchange rate). You will see this change reflected in our fundraising barometer in our sidebar.
Our Fundraising Efforts Thus Far
Finally, in the past couple weeks we have found opportunities to be quite active in our fundraising efforts. While in Sanya, Hainan (post coming soon) we participated in several fundraising events with the Horizon Hotel and Resort where we managed to raise, with the help of the hotel, over RMB40,000/$7,000. We also had the opportunity to visit one of Free Lunch for Children’s participating schools out in the mountains of Guangxi province where we met some of the children and saw first hand what the organization is doing and how effective it can be.
One of the most fascinating things we learned on this trip was the positive after-effect that providing a hearty meal at the school can bring. Because many of these children can often go a day with little to no breakfast or dinner, providing lunches in the schools has boosted school attendance, often by large margins as it is in many cases a child’s only way to get a decent meal.
Below you can see some of the photos from our visit to the Longping Lower School. We will also be writing a more detailed post on that part of the trip soon. If you would like to donate to Free Lunch for Children and help us reach our goal of providing free school lunches for 2 rural schools for a full year, you can visit our Donate page to learn more about the charity and how you can help out.