The September 2019 school holidays will be an unforgettable one for Matthew Flinders Anglican College Year 11 student Kristian Kjaer as he cycles solo from his hometown of Buderim to Sydney over 14 days to raise funds for charity, World Bicycle Relief.
Kristian, aged 16, personally designed the fundraising challenge as a way to combine his interest in ultra-endurance sport with his desire to make a positive difference in the world.
A keen cyclist and tennis player on the senior team at Flinders, Kristian is aiming to raise $5,000 for World Bicycle Relief, which was founded in 2005 to provide people in need with strong, reliable Buffalo Bikes to help them overcome the barrier of distance in order to access education, healthcare and jobs.
On 22 September, Kristian set off on his 1,300km unsupported, off-road bike-packing journey to Sydney through the Australian Great Dividing Range, carrying all of his camping supplies, clothes, food and water, and expects the journey to take from 10 to 14 days.
Flinders Principal Stuart Meade said the College wished Kristian well on his cycling adventure and encouraged the community to support Kristian to achieve his fundraising goal.
“At Flinders, we encourage every student to recognise the potential they have within themselves to improve the lives of others through leadership, community engagement and fundraising efforts,” Stuart said.
“Kristian is certainly a role model for other young people who dream of using their talents and interests to create a positive ripple effect in the community, whether on a local, national or global scale.”
Kristian says he has his parents full support, although his mum has made him investigate every emergency alert device and tracking technology possible to keep him safe along the way.
“As a keen cyclist, I get so much joy from riding a bike, and I can imagine the impact a bike could have on someone far less privileged than myself so I have made it my goal to raise as much money as possible for World Bicycle Relief,” Kristian said.
“Each Buffalo Bike costs $195 and gives a person in need the transport necessary to get to school, go to the doctor or travel to a job to earn money for their family,” he said.
“The simple freedom of accessible transport that we take for granted can make a huge difference to the health and future wealth of people in need in Africa.
“My goal is to raise $5,000, which will buy approximately 25 Buffalo Bikes for people in Africa, so every dollar that people can donate will be appreciated.
“My school, Flinders, encourages community service; this is my way of being a force for positive change in the world.”
World Bicycle Relief is a non-profit organisation which distributes bikes to people living in rural areas in developing countries where the main mode of transport is walking.
The money raised through this fundraiser helps to provide specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in rural Africa; connecting them with education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
World Bicycle Relief has impressive statistics of the difference bicycles make to the communities they distribute to:
- Student attendance increases by 28%
- Academic performance by 59%
- Healthcare workers can reach 45% more patients
- Farmers' income increases by 23%
Supporters can help by donating funds, big or small, and by sharing the Go Fund Me donation page link to spread the word.
For only $195, we can provide a World Bicycle Relief bicycle to a student in need.
To donate, go to Kristian’s fundraising page at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/riding-1300km-for-world-bicycle-relief
Update: Kristian safely completed his ride to Sydney within 13 days. His daily updates are shared on his Go Fund Me page, which is still open for donations.