To educate our riders about the in depth cultural issues regarding poverty in developing countries through group cycling adventures. To enable the freedom of financial dispersion with firsthand understanding of NGO efficiency and sustainability, and to eyewitness differences made to beneficiaries involved.
Your donations to local charities
For every Social Cycles tour, all riders are requested to contribute a nominal sum for the purpose of a donation. Usually AU$200 per rider. During the course of the tours (Cambodia, Vietnam and soon to include Iran), the riders are given the chance to engage with, and learn from, local NGOs. We visit no less than four NGOs during every tour and spend some time learning about their projects, strategies and challenges. At the end of the tour, the riders are then empowered with new found knowledge and have the opportunity to combine the allotted donation money and make an impact towards a project of their choosing. Of the four tours completed so far by Social Cycles, we have already donated over A$5000 to various NGOs within Cambodia.
In addition to building a profile for our impact partners, Social Cycles also pays each NGO for their time and resources. We spend 1-2 hours with each NGO who are then remunerated, regardless of whether or not there is a follow up donation from the group.
Supporting local social enterprise businesses
Social Cycles hires locally for transport assistance and support van. We also support local businesses as opposed to international franchises in all restaurant and hotel choices. In addition, we actively seek out social enterprise based restaurants to include in each tour. These restaurants are connected to local NGOs and use the restaurants as training facilities to disadvantaged youth.
We have recently become an official supporter of ChildSafe, where we have pledged to support the practices to keep children safe. From this, we take all our riders to Friends International (or an official partner of) for the riders to witness a presentation as to what responsible tourism is all about. We engage in a healthy debate as to the current ‘orphanage crisis’ in Cambodia and other developing countries and the influence of tourists that have created this market. This is a great introduction for the riders experience.
As part of our child protection policy, we do NOT interact or engage with any children at schools or nurseries. We do NOT offer or promote any short term unskilled volunteer opportunities, nor do we allow any photography of, or interaction with, children during any NGO visits.
We actively promote and support the ‘Children are not tourists attractions’ campaign from ChildSafe.
Exploring the ethics of ‘fast fashion’ and the garment industry
The garment industry is one of the largest in Cambodia and provides employment to thousands of people. However, with international brands taking advantage of cheap labour, the end result is inexpensive fashion items for the international consumer. The questions we explore are the controversy around the wages and how it has evolved, the conditions of the factories and the roles and responsibilities of the international brands involved. Social Cycles actively engages in activities that encourage the riders to be aware of the ‘fast fashion’ industry.
We sometimes participate in ‘backpack making’ exercises in a Phnom Penh factory, where all materials are sourced from end of line and recycled fabrics. This also gives the rider an understanding of the work involved. On some tours, we visit and engage in a silk screen printing workshop in Siem Reap where we print our own t-shirts as part of the Green Gecko Social Enterprise facility. Green Gecko employs and trains disadvantaged youth and gives them employable skills.
In Kampot, as part of the Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh tour, we engage with Dorsu who are a shining example of what an ethical fashion business can be. Some people preach and others lead by example. Dorsu influences the world by example.
Mission to reduce plastic:
As we supply water for the riders from the van during transit days, we provide the riders with their own water bottle and purchase water in the form of a 50L drum in an effort to reduce the vast amount of plastic from the many 330ml bottles.