The excited students were going around and round to sneak peak at the bright blue bicycles that have been arranged in the longest array they’ve ever seen in front of the library. “Here they come! Here they come!” The students cheered loudly in unison to express their happiness when the teacher told them that The Tour of Hope has arrived at the school.
From 2-10 November, the 24 philanthropic international cyclists led by Dr Hans Bock, a German physician, got together to do what they love, that was bike cycling from Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai to Sukhothai, covering 688 km in total, to share their happiness by giving 200 bicycles and safety helmets to the impoverished children in the 20 remote schools located on their cycling route this year, so that the students have bicycles to ride to school. Thirty bicycles and safety helmets have been handed over to Ban Mae Taman School, which is located in World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Mae Taeng Area Development Programme, the start point of the cycling route. Mr Niwat Sermsiri, Acting Ban Mae Taman School Director, has represented the school to receive them. In this event, the teachers, students, parents, community representatives and Dr Bunjongsek Supsopha, Marketing and Fundraising Group Director of WVFT, have given a warm welcome and expressed their thankfulness to The Tour of Hope for their happiness sharing with the underprivileged students.
Dr Hans Bock, the leader of The Tour of Hope, said that 8 years ago the group came across the work of WVFT and realised that many schools were deeply in need. The group has started to work with WVFT since. Last year The Tour of Hope donated a library and bicycles. This year, the group is aware that some students here come to school on foot while the others are dropped off by their parents. As The Tour of Hope has realised that the transportation support is necessary, they would like to give the bicycles to the students to encourage them to love schooling and have fun coming to school every day, as well as to lessen the parents’ expense burdens.
Nuengruethai Suyasuep, a 4th grader of Ban Mae Taman School, one of the students receiving the bicycles, said: “I’ll ride the bike to school myself. I’ll no longer need to wait for my parents to drop me off. I’m so happy.” Tatsanee Pijit-ngarm, a 3rd grader, said: “My house is about 1 km away from school. I walked to school with my older brother. On the rainy days we’d be late. I’m so happy to have the bicycle. I totally love it! My brother can ride the bike with me riding pillion to school, so we won’t be late. Thank you so much.”
Mr Suthon Nuanthim, a teacher, said that most of the children receiving the bicycles are in primary school level. They have paid attention to studying but have some obstacles in coming to school. “This project is very beneficial for students’ education. Thank you on behalf of the children,” Teacher Suthon said with a smile.