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Kent to Thailand. The longest bicycle ride in the world?

Published Thursday 29th of October 2009 07:34:04 PM

Diana Usher reports from Cobham Hall: 'A Round Square school in Kent is, once again, proving its international credentials as this October a party of students from the school will be travelling to Ko Phi Phi Island in Thailand to participate in an ongoing project to build a community resource centre for the people of Krabi village, whose homes and livelihoods were wiped out by the tsunami in December 2004.

We all remember the dreadful scenes of devastation following the tsunami, and Round Square was quick to see the need for projects to address the long-term problems which would arise. The Regent's School initiated the Ko Phi Phi project to provide a new beginning for the Krabi village community. Homes are gradually being rebuilt, but the community centre will provide the village with a meeting place as well as offering higher education classes and vocational training taught by volunteer teachers. GPs will also be on hand to provide medical assistance and advice on a voluntary basis.

The party from Cobham Hall will work on the project for one week, and will then take the opportunity to visit Bangkok for a few days, including a visit to Father Joseph's Mercy Centre for street children with AIDS.

To raise money to finance these volunteers, about 25 girls and staff from Cobham Hall will be cycling between all of the Round Square schools in England. This sponsored ride will take them from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Cumbria, Staffordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and back to Kent. Many of them are not going to Thailand themselves, but are putting their support behind the project in the true Round Square spirit of service to others. They are currently working hard on their fitness and stamina and training rides are being held most weekends. Parents have been very generous in their support of the project, and fundraising events are being organised in school. One student raised over £300 with a sponsored silence, the sale of doughnuts at morning break raised a further £213 and a staff/student spelling bee is scheduled for after half term.

Round Square is an association of schools worldwide which share the belief that education goes beyond academic excellence, and that young people should be prepared for real life through challenge, adventure and, above all, service to others. Cobham Hall has been a Round Square school for over 40 years, and every year girls and staff organise a wide variety of fundraising activities for their Round Square fund.

The money is used to provide donations to the girls' chosen charities, and to support long term Round Square projects, for which all funding comes through donations from member schools, individuals and companies. Round Square International Service Projects are currently helping poor communities all over the world.'
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