What Do You Do After Losing Local Election?

Why, a 20km Walk in the South Downs to Build a Library, what else!

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Tracey Bleakley would like to fund a library in Cambodia and to fill it with books that will give children an opportunity to expand their horizons, nurture their natural curiosity and their ability to think, and gain an education that will help break the cycle of poverty that plagues the developing world.

Why Cambodia?  During the 70’s and 80’s, the Khmer Rouge carried out a radical genocide program in Cambodia that included isolating the country from foreign influence, closing schools, hospitals and factories, abolishing banking, finance and currency, outlawing all religions, confiscating all private property and relocating people from urban areas to collective farms where forced labor was widespread.

These actions resulted in between 1.4 million and 2.2 million deaths through executions, work exhaustion, illness, and starvation.  Money was abolished, books were burned, and teachers, merchants, and almost the entire intellectual elite of the country were murdered. Family relationships not sanctioned by the state were also banned, and family members could be put to death for communicating with each other.

After visiting last year Tracey was struck by the incredible strength and determination of the people, who are trying to overcome the virtual wipe-out of the older generation at the same time as dealing with the collapse of trade in tourism, construction, clothing and agriculture due to the recent credit crunch.  They have a desire to learn as much as possible to improve their prospects and their economy.  She wanta to support this.

Room to Read is an established charity who believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. The ability to read is fundamental to gaining an education. Without literacy, education is, for all intents and purposes, futile. However, 770 million adults in the world are illiterate and an additional 100 million children are not currently enrolled in primary school – that’s nearly 1 billion people who do not have basic reading and writing skills.

It will cost approximately £2600 to establish a library within an existing school in Cambodia.  This will serve hundreds of students annually including as many as 300-1,000 local language and English language books as well as furniture, games, puzzles, posters, and three years of librarian training and support from Room to Read.   

Tracey's first fundraiser will be a 20k walk on the 15th May in the South Downs, so please dig deep and donate now to http://www.justgiving.com/Tracey-Bleakley!

May 14, 2010

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