When Sydneysider Matthew Clark returns to school after the summer holidays, he will have an incredible story to tell his classmates. Source: Catholic Mission.
The 15-year-old will head to Myanmar next week with his parents, Vera and Stuart, to take part in the Trek to Reach Out, a 12-day adventure exploring the rugged landscape of a country steeped in history.
Together, the trio will celebrate Matthew’s 16th birthday in the trip’s final days, making the occasion extra special.
“I think it’ll be cool to celebrate [my birthday] in another country,” Matthew said, adding that he won’t be expecting gifts this year. “Giving to others is a good gift in itself.”
The Clarks are taking up the challenge – which is run by Catholic Mission and Inspired Adventures – to raise vital funds for children’s and community projects, some of which they will visit during their trip.
Mr Clark said the trek will be an eye-opening experience. “Meeting and talking to children in need will be a challenge for me,” he said. “I want to help people immediately, but I have to look at the bigger picture; it has to be done in a sustainable way. The funds we raise will sustain these programs.”
The idea to get involved came from Mrs Clark, a long-time supporter of Catholic Mission who was inspired by a friend working in international aid in Myanmar. “He highly recommended going to the country soon, before tourism really takes off and while it is still unspoiled,” Mrs Clark said.
Mr Clark was quick to sign up with his wife, relishing the opportunity to see another part of the world and to give back to the community, but Matthew says his decision took some time. “I needed a little convincing, but soon realised it would be fun and a great experience, not just for me, but for those I’m raising money for.”
The family has set up a fundraising page, working towards a target of nearly $10,000, funds that will support projects in education, health and community development.
Sydney family trekking trio keen to make a difference in Myanmar(Catholic Mission)