Vratka Pokorna has written to tell us of her plans to make an epic journey down the entire east coast of Australia - on a push scooter - that's right, no engine - to raise money to help the world's impoverished children. What an amazing commitment she is showing.
Here is what she writes. If you want to help her achieve her goal, her contact details are at the end.
I want to live in a world where children are valued and respected. Don’t you?
WHAT IS IT?
Scootering the nation for next generation is my fundraising journey on a push scooter across Australia. The expedition begins in the town of Laura in northern Queensland and finishes 4300 kilometers later in Melbourne, Victoria.
July 2010 to November 2010.
Around the world nearly nine million children die every year before their fifth birthday.
The aim of this trip is to show others that we can each make difference to the lives of those living in ‘third world’ conditions overseas and for the many Australians living under extreme hardship.
My message is simple, “If we can donate just one dollar a day, we can eliminate suffering.” My main focus is on saving the lives of children who are living in poverty so I’ve teamed up with the ‘Save the Children’ organization who will be responsible for distributing the funds raised from my expedition to those who are most in need.
WHO AM I?
My name is Vratka Pokorna. I am a 45 year old female who has come to a point in my life where I no longer wish to ‘talk’ about helping those in need. I have decided to do something – to take action and to encourage others to do the same.
I came to Australia 15 years ago from the Czech Republic. I married a fellow Czech immigrant, Peter Krhut, a former university teacher of psychology and education. Peter and I discussed the world poverty and the plight of disadvantaged children on many occasions which led Peter to embark on his own journey to raise awareness and money many years ago.
Peter and I separated 3 years ago as his heart was in Europe and mine is here in Australia, but it did not stop us from being good friends and to collaborate on our future plans to help those less fortunate. Not only do I have his emotional support and practical advice for my journey across Australia, he will provide a unique opportunity to publicize my journey across the globe. He will undertake a scootering journey across the Czech and Slovak republics to support my trip, and will cover about 1000 km over a one month period.
I’m currently working in Corporate Finance Division and also studying Psychology at Monash University.
My employer is highly supportive of my journey, allowing me 5 months off work to complete the trip. To achieve this, I will be using all my accrued annual and long service leave. Part of the 5 months will also be unpaid leave. Whilst I acknowledge this sacrifice of time and money will not be easy, the desire to show others that we can make a difference is driving me to achieve this goal.
WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP UNIQUE?
I am a 45 year old female; though fit and healthy I am not an athlete. I am here to show others that if I can travel by push scooter across Australia, they too can embark on their own journey. It may not be on a scooter, it may not be a physical journey at all. It could be as simple as forsaking your daily, store-bought, coffee and putting aside that money for donation.
The choice of the push scooter as a mode of transportation is to capture the attention and imagination of audiences across Australia - and the world. Almost anyone – adult or child can use a push scooter but no female has traveled across a continent on one!
Many people find the sight of a grown woman riding a scooter unusual and somewhat amusing. Most people would be surprised to see someone use a scooter to travel such vast distances. It is this sense of curiosity that I am sure will draw people to my message.
HOW WILL IT HAPPEN?
I will be covering a distance of 4300 kms over 5 months, averaging 35-40 kms a day. The starting place of Laura is not accidental. Laura is a small town of approximately 120 people – predominantly Aboriginal.
Laura is about 300kms north of Cairns and boasts the largest collection of prehistoric rock art in the world – giant figures known as Quinkans, after whom the region was named. According to legend, they were the spirit figures that usually lived in cracks in the rock and came out to frighten people and keep them ‘in line’.
There is evidence of Aborigines living in this region for more than 13,000 years.
By beginning my journey in Laura I will tap into the spiritual root of Australia, to feel a part of a spiritual community. The people of this region are living in extreme/harsh conditions and they are no stranger to poverty. As a community they rely on and help each other. In my opinion, this is the true meaning of ‘community’.
I will have a support vehicle travelling with me throughout the journey.
My sister, Martina McPeace, a veterinary surgeon; Peter Peithner, the son of the famous Czech artist/painter; and also Dr Ivan Wierer, a top Czech surgeon who is the private doctor of Vaclav Havel ( former president of the Czech republic) will comprise my support team . Their varying roles on the trip will include: support vehicle driver, masseur and cook.
THE ROUTE FROM LAURA TO MELBOURNE
I want to live in a world where children are valued and respected. Don’t you?
Your assistance in advertising/promoting this trip can help to provide hope and opportunity to children in Australia and across the world.
Our target is to raise 3 million dollars!!!
HOW THE FUNDS RAISED WILL BE SPENT
Save the Children is the world’s largest independent child rights development organisation, making a difference to children’s lives in more than 100 countries. From emergency relief to long-term development, Save the Children secures a child’s right to basic food and shelter as well as health, education and protection.
Save the Children Australia manages and implements programs in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It also supports development programs through our global network in selected countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
WHAT INSPIRED ME?
I love traveling and I have been lucky enough to see many parts of the world; including India, Tonga and Vietnam, where I saw poverty with my own eyes. I felt a deep sense of compassion and empathy with the people I met. I experienced a feeling of hopelessness that I could never forget. The desire to give money, clothing, and food - whatever I could spare - was overwhelming. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the way Western society buys and wastes so much when there are others with so little. How many of us buy things we really don’t need? How many of us throw half-eaten and un-eaten food in the bin? How many of us have new clothes in our wardrobes we have never worn or have just bought another knick-knack or pair of shoes that we ‘just had to have’?
I discovered a book called “The Life You Can Save” (Picador, 2009) by Peter Singer, internationally renowned author, speaker and Professor in Bioethics. Peter challenges us to think through and act on our moral responsibilities – to create a better world. A passage from this book truly emphasises how important it is not to ignore the plight of those in desperate need of our help:
“Most of us are absolutely certain that we wouldn’t hesitate to save a drowning child, and that we would do it at considerable cost to ourselves. Yet while thousands of children die each day, we spend money on things we take for granted, and would hardly miss if they were not there. Is that wrong? If so, how far does our obligation to the poor go?”
Peter Singer shows us not only that a solution is possible, but also that we have a moral obligation to be part of it.
Peter’s words aim to motivate others to go ahead with their own fundraising events, to demonstrate how one dollar a day can eliminate world poverty. My own experiences and the writings of Peter Singer led me to the decision to embark on a journey of self discovery; to challenge myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Together we can help to provide the tools, skills and resources necessary for this next generation to break the poverty chain. A future we can all look forward to…
to donate: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/vratka_pokorna