My name is Lucy Grogan and I’m raising money for Safe Haven Children’s Trust by jumping on a motorcycle and riding from Land’s End to John O’ Groat’s and back in two days on 30th November 2013.
Safe Haven Children’s Trust is a charity I hold tightly close to my heart.
A few years ago when the founder, my dear friend Benedicta Bywater, introduced me to her vision for the organisation I was deeply moved and unreservedly proud.
She tells the story of Safe Haven’s evolution as an emotional ride. Dealing with corruption and the mountains of red tape has not been easy. But the prevailing drive, the passion that radiates from her when she talks about Mlop Children’s Centre, the very centre that Safe Haven created, is palpable. It is on this determination and compassion for the children of Cambodia that she has built a place for them to be safe and healthy, to be educated and cared for, without the damaging effects of institutionalisation.
Skills are important in this life. Benedicta’s sheer determination is a testament to that. Even if it’s being able to do something physical, something that requires brainpower and razor sharp judgment, it makes you feel proud. Things like that make you feel like you own yourself, a feeling not many vulnerable children could say they have experienced. When I passed my motorcycle test, the feeling of achievement ran deep. It was another ‘tick’ to go on my bucket list, another skill. I knew that I could use it for another purpose.
A friend introduced me to Riders for Health: an organization that transports medical supplies to those in need in Zambia, Africa. They allow sponsored motorcycle tours around Zambia to raise awareness for their cause. At the time, I couldn’t afford the initial costs to join the program, but it got me thinking. Why couldn’t I do the same for Safe Haven? Why couldn’t I make my own rules that would benefit the charity? Why couldn’t it be just as ambitious, just as all consuming and raise a lot of money? Why not?
I am doing this for the children Safe Haven love, because when you see that love, it’s hard not to crumble. It might sound trite, but just one viewing of their site’s videos will prove it. They desperately need the Mlop centre to keep running. The demand for childcare in Cambodia is overwhelming to the extreme. The country’s 40 year history of genocide has ensured over 500,000 children have been orphaned. With the child sex trade booming, many children are left to fend for themselves. That is a horrendous and deeply upsetting thought.
I am angry that children have been left in this situation and it is that anger that fuels my unshakeable support of Safe Haven Children’s Trust. I have to try my best to raise money so that those children can have a better day tomorrow. I don’t know what I would do if I woke up one day and I couldn’t find my parents, let alone what other horrors might be in store. In fact, I have had nightmares about it. We all have.
Benedicta and her team go far beyond what is expected of them. When it comes down to it, Mlop Children’s Centre is a place filled with love and hope. Money can’t buy either of those things, but it certainly helps to put a roof over their heads, a bed underneath them, healthy food in their bellies, learning in their daily routine, and a smile on their faces. It is this love and ongoing security that is so unfathomably important to a child’s development.
Safe Haven Children’s Trust gives children that love. Together, we are going to make sure they still have the chance to do so.