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Seven days in a tuk tuk

Simon Akeroyd

Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific

This conversation took place over a year ago. The chance to have an adventure, go outside my comfort zone and at the same time raise money for charity - it was a no brainer.

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“Do you want to drive a tuk tuk over 1,000kms across Sri Lanka for 7 days, to raise money for charity?” “DEFINITELY! I’m in!”

When I first agreed to take part, I just hoped we would all get to the finish line in one piece, without too many injuries or accidents. What I didn’t expect was that 40 riders in 20 tuk tuks would raise more than 250,000 USD for charities in Sri Lanka and Singapore through the Pimp my Tuk Tuk 2015 challenge.

So, just a few weeks ago I began the journey, in a fully Amadeus-branded and sponsored tuk tuk, thanks to the Amadeus office in Sri Lanka, and Amadeus Cares, the Amadeus Asia Pacific CSR organisation.

I must admit, I thought driving a tuk tuk would be more relaxing. But when you add a few cows, some buffalo, an elephant or two, lots of people walking alongside the road and some torrential rain or blistering heat, it’s a lot harder than you might think.

But during the seven days travelling through Sri Lanka, it quickly became clear that a quarter of a million dollars could go a long way to changing people’s lives, and that’s what made it worthwhile.

Along the way, we visited many of the projects which would benefit from the funds raised. One of the first stops was to see the Vaalvagam Special Needs Children’s Home in Jaffna, where we donated toys and stationery to the 36 children living in the home.

Then it was on to the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Plant in Mihintale, where residents of the area have long suffered from chronic kidney disease due to the presence of pesticides and chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead in the water source. Some villagers need to travel more than 50kms just to get to the plant, but over 500 villagers came on the first day to get clean water, so it was clear it’s going to be a big help.

The Foundation of Goodness , one of the largest recipients of the donations, help more than 30,000 people annually and are working to open a new centre in the North of Sri Lanka thanks to Pimp my Tuk Tuk.

It was great to see the transparency of the work they’re doing and to see the direct impact of what our donations could offer the charities.

Take a look at some highlights from my Pimp my Tuk Tuk 2015 journey in this short video!


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Asia Pacific