A few months ago, I was asked to write about how my PEPY experience changed me as a person, so I replied with this:
“PEPY showed me how much of a difference a few committed people can make to thousands of lives. My experience there made me come alive to the possibility that I could also make a small difference. Now I try to do what I can to help people like my family, my friends, the community I live in, and the inspirational people I met in Cambodia.”
You can see that my three-week journey on the PEPY Ride certainly made an impression on me. On my return to London, I felt compelled to do something to help PEPY, firstly for helping me open my eyes to new possibilities but also to repay the warmth and kindness I received from the people I met all over Cambodia. But the real challenge was to try to do this from thousands of miles away in the UK.
That’s when the finance guy in me started thinking (finally something good from all of those years working with banks). I reflected on how my own experience fundraising for a PEPY Tour was that much more difficult because PEPY was not a UK-registered Charity. If it had been, my employer at the time would have matched donations up to £500, and PEPY would have benefited from a UK tax relief scheme called Gift Aid that allows charities to claim an additional 25% on individual donations. Those two sums added up would have raised close to £1000 more for PEPY with very little extra effort from me!
So I floated the idea of registering a UK representative for PEPY to raise both funds and awareness. The team in Cambodia agreed so we got things moving! Once Katy Vidler, a UK-based former PEPY intern, agreed to be a trustee for the new charity, we were ready to start! We agreed on a name for the UK charity – The Cambodia Development and Education Fund (CDEF) – and submitted the application.
Of course we had our fair share of challenges. Government departments feel like they are slow everywhere in the world and the UK is no exception. The tax authority took months to process our application, but in January 2011, we finally received confirmation that CDEF had been formally registered as a charity (reference XT26778 just in case you were interested).
So what next?
Well we’re not entirely sure. We’re still very new to running a non-profit organization! CDEF is likely to have a launch event, fundraisers of some description, some bike rides (obviously) and, well who knows what else. We’re open to ideas! In the meantime, here are a couple of things you can do to support this new organization:
Watch this space for news about our website, which should be online soon!