10 years ago a man made the ride from Siam to Siem, raising money to start a school. Today, that same man is riding again, with the aim to support more children.
On Oct. 19-21, a charity event celebrating the 10th anniversary of a school started by Accor co-founder Paul Dubrule, will take place. The event, “Siam to Siem” aims to raise funds for the school and celebrate the vision of training young people in need, through the physical challenge of riding across vast distances and “doing it tough” for a few days to benefit others for a lifetime.
The school, Ecole d’ Hotellerie et de Tourisme Paul Dubrule in Siem Reap, was established to help young Cambodians who needs the training and qualifications necessary to contribute toward sustainable tourism in their country. The school, located in Siem Reap near the temples of Angkor Wat, is professionally equipped to offer students a realistic working hotel and restaurant environment to learn and hone their skills, and prepare them for dynamic careers in the hospitality and tourism industries.
With the school’s vision, “to want everyone, without distinction of gender or social background, to have access to education and professional training while encouraging mutual social acceptance,” 1,200 students have been trained in 10 years.
“The event is part of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square’s vision of helping others wherever and whenever possible,” says David Baldwin, the new general manager of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, who is making the ride. “This activity has been adopted so kindly by so many of my colleagues; with generous support from the hotel owners and even the staff. Many of whom have made small but essential contributions to my ride.”
Originally from the USA, Baldwin has worked in senior management positions in hotels and resorts in the USA for several years. “I followed my love for adventure, and relocated to China for several years,” he says, “before heading to Thailand a couple of years ago. Prior to my appointment as GM of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, I was GM of Novotel Bangkok IMPACT, in Muang Thong Thani.
Baldwin says one of the main visions of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square is to support the community, not only financially through donation projects, but also through environmental protect activities through sustainable development and support local communities through activities that include repairing schools and temples effected by natural disasters. The hotel supports education of local communities in Thailand, by training and supporting local schools; while we have NovoSchool, a hands-on training platform for Thai hospitality students to be trained in an operating environment.
“This project will bring together a collection of Accor team members to challenge themselves against a backdrop of harsh weather, tough road conditions, rustic surviving conditions and riding in excess of 125 km’s per day to reach the ultimate goal: to finish this self-challenge and to benefit others in need.”
Without the first event 10 years ago that Paul Dubrule — himself riding 125 km per day — started there would be no l’Ecole d’Hotellerie et de Tourisme. The event has allowed 1,200 children of Cambodia opportunity to be trained by professionals in the hotel industry.
This year, more than 50 riders will make the ride, using their own time and money to train, travel and take part in the event which indicates the support Dubrule and his vision has within the Accor team. The riders will each aim to raise funds from personal sponsors, and then ride from Bangkok (Siam) for three days topping 125km per day to reach the school on Oct. 21 where they will celebrate the achievement and sample some professional hospitality skills learnt by the students. Participants are coming from various countries throughout the world, including Europe, Australia and each region of Asia. Paul Dubrule, himself will be joining the ride once again. Riders, support themselves while generous partners support the event.
All monies raised by riders will be donated to the school. Not a single cent (or satang in Thai) will be spent or retained by riders. For the event itself, riders use their own bikes and equipment, while during the ride, food and staples, such as the all important energy sustenance and water, are self-funded. The monies donated all go to the children. It’s also unique, because every cent of money raised goes to the children.
David’s goal is to raise AUS$5,000. “This is my first ride for a charity event, and as soon as I learned that the event would be held I did not hesitate to apply,” he says. “I have been raising funds now for about four weeks through the assistance of my hotel colleagues, peers and to members of the public who have supported me through. I have a website, so secure donations can be made directly through that channel.
“It’s a personal challenge, it’s a ride for charity” he adds “The benefits are knowing that we personally overcame the physical challenges of riding the distance; while the ultimate achievement will make a lifetime impact on the youth of Cambodia.
“I feel honored to be participating in this event. I love sport, so this ride is an extension of my passion for not only helping others but also for living life to the fullest.
Those interested to support this worthy cause are invited to make a donation of any size on the secure website: www.fundraiseonline.com.au/DavidBaldwin