Bicycles will change lives in Vietnam

| 30/11/2009

(CNS): A fund raising effort in the Cayman Islands that will dramatically improve the lives of children in villages in Vietnam – one bike at a time – by helping them get to school without a 3-hour trek there and back, has already produced an outpouring of generosity.  A volunteer at a village school found that some of the children have to walk several hours to get to school because there no bus and they cannot afford a bicycle.

Sandra Ashmore, the sister of local real estate agent, Cathy Williams, has been living in Vietnam for the last seven months volunteering her time at an orphanage and at a local school in a poverty stricken area. Now Williams and Hilary McKenzie-Cahill have started a campaign, which they call ‘Little Feet Big Wheels’, to raise funds to buy bikes for the children. Each bike only costs US$21 and could change a child’s life forever in allowing them to get to school to get an education. ‘Little Feet Big Wheels’ has already raised around US$4,500, so the initial goal to raise funds for 100 bikes, which would be enough to buy one for every child in the entire village, has already been achieved. Now the organisers are now looking at expanding the project.

“When we put this into perspective, it’s unbelievable that such a small amount of money could have such a powerful effect on the life of a child,” said Williams. “I appreciate that at this time of year there are so many extremely worthwhile causes right on our doorstep. However, I have never felt like actually crying as I do when I realize what an enormous impact we can make on a single child’s life for 17 bucks. Getting to school without a three hour trek and being physically alert would mean these kids would have more of a chance of receiving an education that would change the course of their lives forever.”

Williams is asking for people to contribute as soon as possible so that she can get the funds to her sister to buy the bikes and get them to the village in bulk in time for Christmas.

To donate to ‘Little Feet Big Wheels’, email or

For more on this appeal, read New Bikes for Christmas, a Viewpoint by Sandra Ashmore.

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Category: Christmas appeal

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  1. Cathy Williams says:

    Where have we truly come as a race when we now live in a world where a single act of human kindness is construed as personal gain? Have we as people become so desensitized with life that we have become not only intolerant but extremely skeptical of anything that would involve empathy, raw emotion and giving back to a less fortunate human being, a child, regardless of their geographical location.

    However I have a story that may just change your mind ~ something sincerely amazing happened in this country in the last few days. The mobilization of sincere, honest and empathic people to an appeal that was so raw and such a simple act of human kindness that will ultimately change the course or direction of a child’s life forever;  people contributed to purchase a bike for child in Vietnam for US$21.

    Last Monday my Sister who has dedicated her life to working with orphaned and underprivileged children in Vietnam had a dream, she witnessed children walking 3 hours to school and 3 hours from school each day, only to then work tirelessly with their families in the fields until late in the evening. She had a simple dream to try and raise enough money to purchase 100 bikes (which would sufficiently give each child in one village a bike for Christmas) she sent me a mail, I sent my friends and colleagues a mail who in turn sent their friends and family a mail and with the interconnection of technology and sincere human spirit something amazing happened ~ in a matter of days we had raised US$7,500.

    This will mean not only will these 100 children receive the gift of transportation to a new life, they will also get a helmet (one of the highest risks for children in Vietnam is severe head injuries from falling from bikes ~ at present they ride, if they are lucky enough to have a bike in the village, with at least 4 children on the back of them) so they will all receive a helmet to keep them safe, a puncture repair kit, a pump and a water bottle, the bikes have been fitted with a basket on the front to carry their books. And once our actual accounts come back we shall see how much money remains and work towards putting those monies towards a second bike drive in a neighboring village, trust me there are thousands of villages and millions of kids.

    On the 13th of December my Sister in Vietnam will travel with two trucks and the bikes, helmets, pumps, water bottles etc. to the village of province where the school headmaster will have gathered all of the 100 children in the town square. I only wish I was there too, as I am sure each and every contributor to this appeal would. Sandra has arranged a videographer/ photographer to be present to capture the moment . Her intention is to send the video footage to all of the amazing contributors for them to physically see what a simple act of kindness can produce.

    I sincerely don’t blame your doubt, I understand it is a sign of the times but what I will ask of you is three things ~ firstly please don’t take the magic away from something that has touched the hearts and minds of so many men, women and children in this country (yes even kids emptied piggy banks to help) and the dream of one Lady, my Sister, who welcomed us to assist in this utterly humbling experience. Please dont take away from all of us the knowledge that we have given from our hearts and that we know that when we wake up Christmas morning there is a small child on the other side of the world riding a bike with a little helmet and a sticker saying “Little Feet Big Wheels”.  And finally please send me your email address and it would be my pleasure to include you in the block group email to receive the video footage after the 13th of December so you too can share in this single act of human kindness.

    What happened this week was amazing for various reasons, we shall have a handin changing the course of 100 children’s lives forever and that there is so much sincerity and compassion still left in the world, there is hope; in the last few days hundreds of people in this country believe it too.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Please Donate Locally this Christmas. We have many needy children in Cayman.
    We can at least audit your local contributions.

    • Auditor says:

      Yup,  we are great at providing audited finanancials, you’ll see the books ten years from now, maybe.

    • Anon says:

      Don’t know which planet you are from, but alot of people do donate locally to the children in need here. There is nothing wrong with helping other children in other countries as well. Don’t be so selfish! After all it is Christmas and it’s a time for giving. Hope you plan on donating locally since you are encouraging everyone to NOT help outside of our borders…….such a GRINCH!

    • Sean says:

      Hello Mister Audit. The government can’t even audit themselves. Local contributions are made year round on the island and you never hear were the funds go. It seems with this contribution for $17 (what can you get for $17 in Cayman) a child, a young child doesn’t have to walk for 6 hours just to get to school to get an education and a chance in life.

      Mr Audit. Get a life seriously.