At the beginning of 2021, Singapore based Australian expat Andrew Smith decided to set himself a challenge – to cycle 5,000km for local charity, Aidha.
Andrew had always enjoyed cycling but took it up more seriously during the 2020 Circuit Breaker. He was going through a tough time with anxiety and started to cycle out in the mornings to see the sunrise. It allowed him to appreciate the little things and added routine to his life during a challenging period, something that he feels has improved his general health and mental wellbeing enormously.
A friend participated in last year’s Ride for Aidha, joining a team of more than 100 Aidha supporters in completing the OCBC Virtual Cycle. He told Andrew about the charity’s work, helping foreign domestic workers and low-income Singaporean women achieve economic independence through financial education.
Andrew was inspired! “I think it’s a pretty amazing thing that Aidha is doing for migrant domestic workers,” Andrew says. He believes it’s important that we appreciate the contribution these domestic workers make both to their families back home and in Singapore. He hopes that his mammoth ride this year will help spread the word about Aidha and raise S$2,500 in support of their educational programmes. “S$500 covers the cost of delivering a full course to one student. I want to support five Aidha students, in the hope of giving the opportunity of greater financial independence and equality to all.” The ride is also a personal challenge that, in his words will help “re-define my own independence from anxiety”.
Andrew started his ride in February and hopes to reach his total 5,000km goal in stages – doing several rides within the year. He really enjoys cycling along East Coast Park and sometimes rides to Bedok Jetty to watch the sunrise. Sentosa is another favourite. “Anywhere near the beach, near the sea” he laughs. Cycling gives him the chance to see more of Singapore and to visit places he has never been before. It also allows him to meet new people – fellow cyclists and more! He admits that his biggest challenge is riding in the rain but concedes he has been lucky so far, as the weather has been great for cycling.
To find out more about the cause inspiring Andrew’s epic cycle, visit www.aidha.org. FDWs (or their employer) can enrol for courses online and Aidha runs regular free short courses too.
To learn more about Andrew’s campaign or donate, click here.