In November 2012, a team of 16 brilliant fundraisers embarked on the SBS Race for Refugees; a cycling odyssey from Vietnam to Cambodia.
This adventure is an excellent representation of how corporate challenges can make a real difference by teaming up with a charity or cause they are passionate about and encouraging their employees and suppliers to get involved.
How did the SBS Race for Refugees come about?
In 2011, SBS approached Inspired Adventures and enquired about creating a corporate challenge to raise funds for charity. They saw it as an exciting opportunity to make a difference while forging stronger relationships with their clients. SBS engaged some of their media agencies – MindShare Australia, MediaCom Australia, and OMD – and invited them to submit a team. With the corporate side of things taken care of, it was time to find a cause or a charity to match SBS’s story.
SBS and Australia for UNHCR
SBS specialise in telling the stories of humankind with their broadcasts in more languages than any other broadcaster world wide (they broadcast in 68 languages on radio!). Matching them with a charity such as Australia for UNHCR was an easy decision. It was made even easier as the SBS Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Australia for UNHCR. From the combination of these two formidable organisations (one corporate and one charity) came the ‘SBS Race for Refugees 2012’.
With the corporate-charity partnership in place, Inspired Adventures set about creating a bespoke itinerary drawing upon the values, interests and work of both organisations. The SBS Race for Refugees would start in Siem Reap in Cambodia and end in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The challenge would include raising funds to support UNHCR’s Emergency Response Program and humanitarian assistance as well as cycling over 400km through Southeast Asia. Highlights of the itinerary included a soccer game at a school in Siem Reap and a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about the work of UNHCR in Cambodia.
The race was on…
With everything in place, it was time to put together a team to take on this unique challenge. SBS found four employees who were up for a challenge. They then invited each of the agencies to register a team of four. Once the team of 16 was complete, Inspired Adventures supported them through team fundraising workshops and individual coaching in order to reach the set fundraising target.
To make the team look the part, a cycling shirt was designed specifically for the SBS Race for Refugees. SBS approached a Sydney-based cycling shop for sponsorship of the team and before long they were all decked out with helmets, shirts and other cycling paraphernalia.
With the team all set and ready to go, the final pre-departure preparation was a lively team dinner with Carina Hoang from UNHCR, a former refugee. Bolstered with a reinforced understanding of the work of UNHCR and excitement for the adventures that lay ahead, the team set off of on their cycling odyssey.
The adventure of all adventures…
The team arrived in Siem Reap late on Friday 2 November 2012. The following day they cycled 50km in the heat “…it’s hot. Really, really hot…. just standing in the shade leaves sweat lingering on our brows in this unseasonably hot November”. The next challenge in the heat was a vigorous 2-hour soccer extravaganza with our team of 16 and with every child who attended the local school.
Over the next few days, the team cycled through the world-famous temples of Angkor grabbing an incredible team ‘jump’ photo at Angkor Wat before moving on to Angkor Thom, the temple made famous by the Tomb Raider movie.
Upon making their way to Phnom Penh, the team were able to rest and recharge their batteries. They paid a “sombre visit to both the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Choeung Ek killing fields, where we were confronted by the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge…”.
As the Race continued our intrepid cyclists made their way to southern Cambodia to explore the seaside towns of Kampot and Kep before crossing the border into Vietnam. The heat was just as oppressive in Vietnam as the cycling continued through the Mekong Delta interspersed with a boat ride to visit the floating markets. Finally the team arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate their achievements. Tour Escort, Kyle, summed up the SBS Race for Refugees brilliantly:
“It’s amazing to think that you can take three competing media agencies and one brilliant television station, unite them behind a common cause and raise over $50,000 for Australia for UNHCR then cycle across Cambodia and Vietnam as a team getting along every step of the way. Talk about an Inspired Adventure!”
Corporate Challenges through Inspired Adventures: a recipe for success
Overall, the SBS Race for Refugees matched an enthusiastic corporate with a worthy cause and raised over $50,000 for Australia for UNHCR. The team was made up of employees from SBS and individuals from a number of media agencies. This team of incredible individuals transformed themselves into fundraising cyclists and they pushed their physical boundaries to the limit by cycling over 400km in unseasonably hot weather in Cambodia and Vietnam. Long days spent in narrow bicycle seats were in stark contrast to the comfort of their cushioned office chairs. Each individual rose to the occasion and collectively they all made a huge difference to a cause that united them as a team and forged friendships for life.
SBS have 7 billion stories and counting… now they have one more to count; the success story that is the SBS Race for Refugees 2012.
If you think your workplace is as adventurous as SBS, contact Justine at Inspired Adventures – 1300 905 188.