May 2016
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The Road to Hope
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Andrew (left) and Brett (right) pictured with Ananda on his new bed.


In September last year, Brett Jason Lee, Talent Development Manager at John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Limited, took on a fundraising adventure challenge in Sri Lanka with long-time friend Andrew Tan. The pair had to achieve a given task each day during an 11-day road trip travelling on a tuk tuk – the three-wheeled motorised rickshaw commonly found in Southeast Asia.  

Together with 28 other intrepid participants, the duo travelled 1,250 kilometres around Sri Lanka on their tuk tuk and helped raise about US$6,500 through family and friends who sponsored their journey. The money has gone to support three charity projects run by local NGOs. Says Brett, "Although US$6,500 is not a massive sum, it has proven valuable in Sri Lanka, a country still struggling with the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and a decades-long civil war." 

During the trip, Brett and Andrew got an insight into the challenging life circumstances facing many locals when they encountered a man called Ananda on the road. Ananda is a retired factory foreman in his 60s who has had a hip replacement and walks with a stick. Every day he has to find food at the local market and use what little money he can get to survive.

"We offered to drive him home and we found that he didn't have a bed and had to sleep on the floor," recalls Brett. "A few days later, Andrew and I decided to hire a car and return to his town, which was about 450 kilometres away. We purchased a bed for him so that he could sleep without hurting his hip,"

An even more special moment came when the duo showed Ananda a photograph of himself that they had taken with their camera. With not even a mirror in his primitive home, Ananda hadn't seen his own face for years and had no idea what he looked like. The moment he saw the photo, the old man broke down in tears.

"It was really amazing the way he looked at the photo. I can't imagine what it would be like to be somebody who hasn't seen themselves for years. Our experience with Ananda was surely one of the most rewarding things on this trip," Brett says.

The episode came with a bonus: the pair won the Charity Award at the end of the trip because of what they did for Ananda, even though they earned the lowest total score for all the challenges. But then Brett never set out to win anything when he signed up for the trip: he was much more interested in helping the locals if he could.

The Scott Cup 2016
The Scott Cup 2016
The Road to Hope
The Road to Hope
Outward Bound Adventure Race 2016
Outward Bound Adventure Race 2016
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