The third installation of Aidha’s annual charity bike ride –and our largest event yet –took place last 10 May at East Coast Park. Dubbed, “Aidha Tour de Singapore 2015”, the event aimed to raise $100,000 to fund 150 scholarships for Singapore’s Foreign Domestic Workers.
The event began way before the crack of dawn when Aidha staff and volunteers met up with the bikers at the starting line for the flag off. Aidha CEO, Karen Fernandez, waved off over 140 bikers in four successive groups starting at 5:30AM: the 100KM Slow, 100KM Fast, 50KM Park Connector and 25KM Park Connector Group. The routes were designed by the very professional Mavericks Cycling Team, who also served as marshals for the bikers of different biking abilities and backgrounds.
One of the first finishers was a rider from the 25KM group. Anuj Khemka from Deutsche Bank clocked in at around 9:30AM to the cheers of the volunteer alumni who had set up a welcoming cheering squad at the finish line. It was his first time at an Aidha event and he joined the bike ride mainly to learn more about volunteering with Aidha. “It seems like a close-knit organisation,” he said, sharing his observation while cooling down at the finish line. “I heard about Aidha from a friend and I’m interested in becoming a mentor.”
Of course, many of the participants were bike ride regulars who had attended previous events. Like Arijit from Simmons and Simmons Law Firm, who rode last year under the Deutsche Bank group. “This year’s event was much better than last year,” he enthused. “The route was a lot better, more relaxed and the marshals were excellent!”
Sylbestine Huang from Barclays who rode with the 100KM Fast group had similar comments. “Good organisation and the jerseys were also much more comfortable this year.” Asked why he rides for Aidha, Sylbestine shared that he enjoys cycling and welcomed the opportunity to combine doing something he likes with a charitable goal. He and his colleagues from Barclays managed to raise $1,800 for Tour de Singapore by selling breakfast at work.
But the bikers weren’t the only ones working hard on that day. Aidha volunteers and student alumni manned various pit stops all over the cycling route, handing out water, fresh fruits and other treats to refresh the weary cyclists. At the finish line, volunteers also eagerly distributed drinks, baked goods, sandwiches and freshly cut fruits, while others lined up alongside the finishing route to form a cheering squad.
And it definitely made a difference! To date, the Aidha Tour de Singapore Bike Ride has raised over $91,000 and looks on track to meet its target amount of $100,00 to fund 150 scholarships.
An event like this takes an entire village to put together, and our thank you list is a long one this year. Aidha would like to thank official corporate sponsors: Mastercard, University of Pennsylvania, Athlete Lab, Decathlon, Pure, Esthe Clinic, Alpha Balance Yoga, Linklaters, Amocan and our supporters from Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Goldman-Sachs. We’re also grateful to our official cycling partners, Mavericks Singapore Cycling Group; official digital sponsor, Qlik; the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped Mobile Massage team who were on hand to give free massages to our bikers and volunteers; as well as to Cisco Certis Security Group for securing the bike park and helping out with some of the heavy lifting during set up and dismantling. And of course, our big love and hugs to our very supportive Aidha community of staffmembers and volunteers, who generously trooped down from 4AM till the noonday sun was high in the sky to support our bikers.
It goes without saying that you’ve all made a difference in the lives of the 150 domestic workers who will be the lucky recipients of an Aidha scholarship ––and an education that could open more opportunities for a financially sustainable future.
Thanks to everyone for their unwavering support and we look forward to having you all again for a bigger, better and with a more ambitious fundraising goal for Tour de Singapore 2016!
– by Ting Claravall