Bek and Steff's
China Challenge
2 - 14 Dec 06

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Do you know the name of Tom Cruise's first wife?
Do you remember who won the Melbourne Cup last year?
Do you know what language is spoken in Cambodia?

If you know the answers to these questions - then we have the event for you...


The Bull and Bear Tavern
347 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Saturday, 16 July 2005

$20 per person*

Grab your friends, make a table of 6 to 10 people and join us for a night of fun, food and frustration (and prizes) to help save the world!
Please email Steff to book your place by 11 July 2005. Payment to be arranged with Steff.
*The ticket price includes snackfood on tables. Drinks are available to purchase at the Bull & Bear, which is licenced and open until 1am. The money raised goes towards Bek, Steff and Marty's Oxfam Challenge.

Answers: Mimi Rogers, Makybe Diva & Khmer

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cold (Canberra) weather sucks...

I am sure no one will disagree with me when I say that it is very difficult to be motivated to get up early (i.e. in the dark) to go for a ride outdoors during the cold Canberra winter!

So, I am taking advantage of technology and this week am due to have delivered a brand spanking new exercise bike. Be gone you cold mornings! Be gone frozen nose (and fingers and everything else)!

Okay, so I feel a bit like a dork for having an exercise bike, but with a combination of freezing cold (literally!) mornings and crazy hours at the office, I figure this is the only way Team Canberra will not be left behind in Vietnam as everyone else continues into Cambodia...

And hey, at least this way I definitely won't have any training collisions (well, at least until September when the weather warms up)!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

About the Oxfam Challenge

About the Challenge

Basically, the Oxfam Challenge is a charity bicycle ride to raise money for Oxfam Australia.

It has two elements to it:
  1. The participant must raise a minimum of $5,000; and
  2. They participate in a 500km bicycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siam Reap in Cambodia, between 24 November 2005 and 6 December 2005.

So, the challenge is to fundraise while also getting fit enough to cycle up to 100km a day in Vietnam and Cambodia!
Approximately $2300 goes towards getting the participant to Vietnam/Cambodia.

The other half of the money raised (and more should they exceed their target) is donated directly to Oxfam to use in its projects and programs overseas. This is raised by sponsorship and/or donations.
During the course of the cycle, the Challengers have the opportunity to visit an Oxfam Australia community project in action and to see where, and who, their fundraising has helped.

On average, Oxfam Challenge trips, excluding trip costs, raise at least $60,000 - $70,000 per trip. The money raised is then used for projects such as building schools in rural communities.

More information about the Oxfam Challenge is available here.

About Oxfam Australia

Oxfam Australia (also known as Oxfam Community Aid Abroad) is an independent, not-for-profit, secular, community-based aid and development organisation. Oxfam's vision is of a fair world in which people control their own lives, their basic rights are achieved and the environment is sustained. Across 31 countries, Oxfam Australia works in partnership with local communities to overcome poverty and injustice.
Even a small donation can make a big difference. For example:

  • $10 can buy a bush knife for a young person in the Solomon Islands to use to build fences and chicken coops to start up a small-scale project to help them grow more food;
  • $20 can pay for five household gardens to be set up in Cambodia. The vegetable gardens help families to have a more diverse diet and decrease the chances of malnutrition;
  • $30 can buy a personal washing kit for a family in Sudan, including body soaps, clothes soaps, a jerry can, sleeping mats and wash basins;
  • $50 can pay for Mozambican women living with HIV to undertake specialised sewing skills training, enabling them to develop skills to negotiate for further contracts;
  • $100 can be used to start a vegetable garden to provide nutritious food for families in need in South Africa. The vegetable gardens ensure that families who do not have the financial means to buy groceries are able to feed their families; and
  • $6,000 can pay for the plans, materials and a contractor to build a three-roomed school in Cambodia.

More information about Oxfam Australia is available here.

About us

Steff, Marty and Bek are three lawyers who decided that 2005 was the year to become socially responsible, and a bit more active! So, we are getting saddle sore in preparation for the cycling, and running events to raise the necessary money.

As a team, we are aiming to raise a total of about $18,000 of which approximately $12,000 (enough to build 2, three class room schools) will go directly to Oxfam Australia.

Events we have run so far include:

  • The Wine Challenge - selling cases of wine
  • The Chocolate Challenge - selling chocolates, which is ongoing

Events coming up soon:

  • The Trivia Challenge - A trivia night in Melbourne on 16 July 2005, and in Canberra in August 2005.
  • Banquet Challenge - dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant
  • Wine Tasting - in Melbourne

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Question to Oxfam - Make Poverty History

Like many others, I was a little concerned after reading an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that suggested Oxfam had obtained the rubber wristbands it is using to promote the "Make Poverty History" campaign from a factory which had workers in sweatshops conditions... I wrote to Oxfam Australia to confirm the story and they alleviated my concerns.

Oxfam Australia was a little more careful than its UK counterparts! See the email exchange below...

From : Enquire
Sent : Monday, 6 June 2005 11:49:34 AM
To : "steff "
Subject : RE: Make Poverty History sweatbands

Hello Stefany,

Thank you for your enquiry in regards to the Make Poverty History Wristbands. As you can well imagine we have had a number of enquiries in regards to this.

Oxfam Australia has not purchased wristbands from the same supplier as the UK Make Poverty History coalition. Oxfam Australia has purchased 150,000 white wristbands from an Australian supplier (who sources from China) to be distributed to supporters of the Make Poverty History Campaign in Australia. The wristbands were ordered only after Oxfam Australia required the manufacturer and supplier to confirm that the manufacturer of the wristbands met ethical labour standards. We required and received written confirmation prior to placing our order that the manufacturer respects labour laws, employs no child labour and meets all appropriate occupational health and safety regulations. We have no evidence to suggest this is not the case. Oxfam Australia is taking steps to further verify the assurances given about work conditions in the production of the wristbands. In addition we are supplying fabric wristbands from Oxfam Great Britain which has sourced 1.5 million fabric bands from a manufacturer in Taiwan which underwent a thorough ethical audit process which satisfied Oxfam’s ethical purchasing policy.

I hope this answers all your concerns.

Kind regards,


From: steff
Sent: Monday, 6 June 2005 8:49 AM
To: EnquireSubject: Make Poverty History sweatbands

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to you after receiving an Oxfam 'Make Poverty History' wristband in the mail recently.

I was concerned after reading the following news article in the Sydney Morning Herald that these rubber wristbands may have been produced in sweatshop conditions, and as a result are adding the problems suffered by workers in China.

Before I wear the wristband I would like to ensure that it was not made in a sweatshop.

Yours sincerely,

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