Pimp My Tuk Tuk Charity Ride 2017

The Pimp My Tuk Tuk Charity Ride visited Sri Lanka for the second time from 15th -  22nd September 2017. After a very successful ride in 2015 when 40 riders in 20 tuk tuks started their journey in Jaffna to travel along the Sri Lankan coasts all around the island up to Colombo, the group returned with even more members for a second go.

This eclectic group of riders is made up mainly of financial professional from UK working in Asia, and among the 54 riders this year were a number of father-son groups and in one case three generations including the grandfather, father and son who took part in the ride together.

Having been fundraising and collecting items to donate along the way for months in advance, the guys landed in Colombo ready to go.  After an intensive practice session on the morning of the ride (15th September) the group hopped into their colourful tuk tuks and the eye catching parade took off from amidst much excitement.

The first day’s ride took them from Colombo to Chilaw, a relatively easy start on good roads with their evening free to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka ahead of an early start on Saturday as the group made their way to Sigiriya via the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Plant in Galnewa (Anuradhapura District) funded by PMTT in 2016. On the following day, the group would stop at another R.O. Plant, this time in Mihintale (Anuradhapura District) which was the very first plant they opened, during the 2015 ride. At both locations, the locals were gathered in droves with delighted smiles and tables laden with refreshments for these wonderful men who had provided clean water for them.

Previously, they were all living under the threatening shadow of chronic kidney disease, the result of polluted water sources which was causing great damage to their kidney and even resulting in fatalities. Now, the villagers have access to clean drinking water and many of the villagers shared with us that they have experienced a reduction in the symptoms they were experiencing previously.

During their stay in Sigiriya, some of the more intrepid riders decided to scale the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and take in the history, culture and incredible views from on top of the rock which others chose to rest up from a bumpy day’s ride back at the hotel.
The end of the third day (Sunday the 17th) saw the group delighting in the beautiful white sand beaches of Trincomalee and a leisure day on Monday the 18th (day 4) with no scheduled charity stops meant they were free to enjoy the coastlines or wander inland in search of adventure during a leisurely ride down to Pasikudah.

On the 5th day, which was Tuesday the 19th, the group started their ride with a visit to FoG’s 5th Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre in Eravur, Batticaloa District. PMTT Organizers Alex Longman and Michael Phelps had been fundraising for many months to donate bicycles to students from the North and East of Sri Lanka who had a hard time getting to school because they had no access to transport. Together, they were able to raise funds for 109 bikes, 97 of which had been distributed by FoG in previous months to rural students in Jaffna and Kilinochchi. The last 12 bikes were handed over by the riders themselves in Batticaloa and it was amazing to see young faces light up as they received the bicycles, as well as the stationery, toys and sweets handed over by the riders who brought an impressive 160 boxes of items with them to donate along the way during the ride.

Their second stop of the day came just before they arrived at their hotel in Arugam Bay. Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in Pottuvil is a small school in desperate need of help to develop their infrastructure and the PMTT riders handed over stationery, toys and 4 computers for the use of the students, whose eyes widened in wonder, never having used a computer in their lives.

The 20th which was day number 6 brought the longest drive yet, and the most emotional one too. The group stopped by the 3rd Water Purification Plant they had set up in Mullekumbura, Moneragala and then headed to Meth Sewa Foundation, a home for children and adults who have special needs or are differently abled, run by the amazing Niroshan and his wife along with a handful of staff and volunteers who look after the 85 residents in their care.

“Just had the most humbling experience of my life, today we visited a Special Needs Orphanage. We all have problems, but it's nothing compared to what I've seen today,” said Billy Dulieu.

Day 7 was another leisurely drive from Hambanthota to Unawatuna and the riders had a chance to reflect on the journey so far before beginning their last leg on the 22nd- Day 8, the last day of the ride would see them stopping by the Foundation of Goodness’ project headquarters- The MCC Centre of Excellence and Sports Academy in Seenigama before returning to Colombo.

In Seenigama, the group learned about the devastation and destruction of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and how FoG rebuilt the village stronger and better than before with determination and lots of help from kind and generous donors from around the world. The Seenigama model serves as a benchmark of the work we hope to deliver to all rural underserved communities across Sri Lanka in an effort to uplift their lives.

One place the ride could not travel to were the remote villages of Udugaladebokka and Galamuduna in Hasalaka, where the 2017 Ride will provide solar power to 70 homes. Living in harsh conditions, these villagers must treck over 5 kilometers up a mountain that has no proper roads, constantly braving the threat of wild elephants in order to get to their homes which have no electricity or running water.

Back in Colombo, the ride concluded with press conference at the Kingsbury Hotel sponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau who officially endorsed the ride. Emotions overflowed and the PMTT Organizing Committee members Alex Longman, Candiah Giritharan and Michael Phelps handed over a cheque to the value of 250,000/- Singapore Dollars to FoG Founder/ Chief Trustee Kushil Gunasekera.

“No one will ever forget their experience, and I hope everyone took away the inspiration to do good. Pimp My Tuk Tuk is all about touching lives and making a difference,” said Alex Longman from the Organizing Committee.

“The most important element is that to see how the funds have been used, its very touching and I applaud the model that Foundation of Goodness has produced” stated Abhishek Marla, Senior Business Development Manager- AccelerAsia.

For a long time tourism has been very hands off, but today it’s changing and what you have done is really amazing to see how you have integrated with the people, with the places- reaching out to the villages and making the people happy.” remarked Sutheash Balasubramaniam, Managing Director- Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

“My passion has been to bridge the gap between the urban and rural sector. Thanks Alex, Michael and Giri for propagating this concept, because if not for all the funding that we get, we would not be able to do what we do to uplift rural communities on a day to day basis. Words fail me, because what the PMTT Ride does is phenomenal,” said Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/ Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness.

A big thank you also goes to the 5 person crew from Limey Yank Production who followed the group around Sri Lanka collecting footage to produce a documentary of the ride which they hope to monetize in order to raise more funds for charity.

A Big Thank you goes to main sponsor Accelerasia, local sponsors Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, Visa, TNL Radio, Elsteel, logistics partner Citrus Leisure, hospitality partner Kingsbury Hotel and the invaluable service vehicle which was provided by the David Pieris Motor Company and all our sponsors worldwide: Senjo Group, Marex Spectron, RedDot Power, Tellus, Media Monks, Singapore- Sri Lanka Business Association, Relay42, Ascot, vTrium Energy, Slimstock, RoiHunter, Business Games, MUFG, Limey Yank Productions, bq bar, Olmec, Novus, Tjili, Dog & Bone, Principle One, TP ICAP, Mogambo, IP Global and ECB Amsterdam.

Click here for video : Pimp My Tuk Tuk 2017 Sri Lanka (20 Mins)

Pimp My Tuk Tuk 2017 Sri Lanka Full Version (20 Mins) Would do it all again tomorrow... Chapters: 0:25 Ready to go 1:01 Tuk Tuks on Roads 2:02 Wildlife (cows, elephants etc...) 3.03 Sigiriya 3:49 Do's and Don'ts 5:29 Water Purification in 3 Villages 7:35 Village Food & Tea 8:19 Polonnaruwa 8:40 Village Heartbeat Project 10:01 Meth Sewa Home 13:16 Bundala National Park 13:45 FOG Centre of Excellence 15:35 Tuk Tuks on Dirt Tracks 16:35 Tuk Tuks on the Coast & Home 17:30 Good to be Alive

Posted by Pimp my Tuk Tuk "touching lives making a real difference" on Sunday, October 1, 2017


02nd October 2017







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