Successful fun(d)raiser at Bewl Water

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Following last year’s success, Mekong Experiences was yet again the main team sponsor for Harnessing Opportunities through Play and Education’s Dragon Boat Racing Team in their 2015 fun(d)raiser at Bewl Water in Kent.

Team work, communication, determination and healthy competition

Dragon boat racing has long traditions in China and throughout Southeast Asia. Legend has it that dragons are controllers of the rain and dragon boat races are held to welcome the wet season and ensure sufficient rain for successful harvests. In Cambodia, people from all over the country celebrate the Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Tuk), which coincide with the start of the rainy season, with the annual dragon boat races as one of the absolute highlights. There are boat races in Siem Reap, in the provinces and across the country, but the races in Phnom Penh is by far the biggest and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year. The Cambodian Water Festival lasts for (at least) three days, and commemorates the end of the rainy season as well as the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. To experience this colourful and lively spectacle, and we would recommend to so, the exact dates of the water festival follows the lunar calendar, but usually falls in late September or October.

A fun and exciting day out

With close links to the communities they aim to support, dragon boat racing is not only a fun and exciting day out, but a very apt choice as HOPE’s annual fun(d)raiser. Mekong Experiences share many of the same values, and the team work, communication, determination and healthy competition which occurs during the race day are some of the core skills learnt by the young adults on the programmes HOPE support in Cambodia. By sponsoring a boat, the charity’s trustees were able to recruit a race team who, in turn, have managed to raise much needed funds for local grass root projects supporting young adults in key life skills, helping their development and further their education.

Despite some grey clouds and a bit of rain in the early morning on the day of the races, the sun came out before the first race started and we couldn’t have asked for much better weather. Clocking in at 1.31.84 in the last heat, the Dragon Boat Team was only a few seconds from making it all the way to the final and we think the team did brilliantly. The support on the day and on the fundraising page has also been brilliant, and we would like to thank everyone so much for their efforts and especially for sharing their enthusiasm to help raise much needed funds and awareness for HOPE.

Donations are still coming in so please visit the dedicated fundraising page for the latest updates.

Just Text Giving – donations by text

If you’re in the UK and have a mobile phone, a convenient, safe, quick and easy way of supporting Harnessing Opportunities through Play and Education and The Dragon Boat Team in their fundraising endavours is to send BEWL70 £1 / £5 / £10 / £20 / £30 / £50 to 70070

E.g. BEWL70 £5 to 70070


The commitment for next year’s fun(d)raiser and dragon boat challenge is strong, so with a full team, we are hopeful of making it to the finals next year. Therefore, if you would like to part of the 2016 squad please get in touch or visit HOPE’s website where you can register your interest, sign up for next year’s challenge and secure a place in the Dragon Boat Team.

Lastly, on behalf of all of us, the young adults and all the local grass roots projects supported by HOPE, many big, warm thanks to all participants and dedicated supporters…!!

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Mekong Experiences

Fuelled by a passion for responsible travel and flavoured by the rich and varied history and culture of the Mekong region, Mekong Experiences consists of a small but dedicated team of responsible tourism enthusiasts with years of hands-on experience from the tourism and hospitality sector. With a few passport stamps of their own, they have a balanced view of what works well for travellers and what doesn't, and put great focus on responsible travel, tourism and hospitality practices with the aim to help develop, communicate and promote responsible travel products, and travellers to find unique travel experiences.
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