Walk to Cambodia at Long Jetty

Ben Brown

Ben Brown is taking many steps, literally, to help break the cycle of poverty.

He aims to walk 9,573,640 steps, the distance from Australia to Siem Reap in Cambodia, to raise money for the charity, Human and Hope.

Brown’s Walk to Cambodia will be held on April 18 at Long Jetty, where he will be encouraging the community to join him for a community walk and a barbecue, starting at the Long Jetty Foreshore Reserve on Tuggerah Pde.

He is aiming to raise $20,000 for Human and Hope to support a grassroots community centre in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which runs education, vocational training and community development programs that help to reduce the impacts of poverty.

“Walk to Cambodia is a fitness and fundraising event where participants collectively walk the distance from Australia to Cambodia, while also raising funds for children’s education programs,” Brown said.

“I’m participating for a second year because I believe all children deserve the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of where they are from, and the best way to do that is through education,” said Brown.

“I’m hoping that between 50 to 80 people come along and enjoy the walk,” Brown said.

“Walk with us to Memorial Park at The Entrance and get involved in a fundraiser barbecue, meet some great people and make a positive impact on this fantastic cause.”

Brown has been involved with Human and Hope since 2014 and has visited Siem Reap as part of the charity’s Purpose and Philanthropy Field Trip in 2019.

He first got involved as he is a long time friend of Human and Hope’s CEO, Sally Hetherington.

“I donate every month to Human and Hope’s literacy fund, which pays for new books in their library,” said Brown.

Brown is a disability peer support officer, mentoring people with intellectual disabilities to advocate and speak up for themselves, something he knows personally as he lives with Cerebral Palsy.

“We are very grateful that Ben is taking on such a fantastic challenge to help us fund our vital support for children in need.

“Money raised from the event will provide 200 children with a year of education that they otherwise couldn’t access,” said Sally Hetherington.

“Our programs transform the lives of some of the poorest and most socially disadvantaged children in rural Cambodia, and English skills are essential for gaining a well paid job in the tourism sector, which provides most of the employment opportunities for locals, with over six million tourists visiting Siem Reap each year.

“Without knowledge of English, children are likely to follow in the footsteps of their parents who struggle to survive day to day,” Hetherington said.

The Walk to Cambodia at Long Jetty runs until April 30.

Harry Mulholland