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Hiking For Sri Lanka’s Future

Olivia James

This Saturday, Hong Kong based journalist Olivia James will join a group of 21 hikers and traverse the steep peaks of Lantau Island to help shape the lives of 26 female orphans in Sri Lanka. Flying the flag for non-profit New Day, they hope to raise enough funds to keep the girls’ home operational for an entire year. We catch up with Olivia ahead of the New Day Lantau Challenge to find out more.

For many people living in prosperous cities like Hong Kong, little is known about the plight of women and girls across the vast Asian continent. The dark underbelly that threatens the lives of females across the region can seem far removed from the routine of daily life in a city like ours, however, the unimaginable challenges and degradation that Asian women must overcome are an all too disturbing reality.

As a woman whose fundamental human rights are not infringed by my gender, I feel strongly that I should support those whose economic participation, educational attainment, physical health, and political empowerment are restricted, simply because they are female.

It is imperative for the more fortunate inhabitants of the region to help close the ever-widening chasm between the prosperous classes and the pockets of misery in which staggering numbers of women and girls still exist. With media coverage now focused on Asia’s overwhelming economic improvements, the plight of those living in extreme poverty has become marginalised. How can we expect to harness much needed global attention, if those closer to home do not do their part?

This is why I am taking part in the New Day Lantau Challenge this weekend, where we will hike 27km over Lantau’s two peaks to raise money to support 26 girls who live at the Matara Buddhist Girls’ Home in Sri Lanka, as well as 14 girls attending a vocational Arts school in Xining, China. Along with my team of hikers, we hope to raise a minimum of $10,000 per kilometer, which will keep the home operational for one year and provide each of the girls with basic shelter, food, medicine, and education.

The money we raise will help to change the trajectory of these girls lives forever and provide the foundation for each of them to develop productive, happy lives. This is all part of New Day’s objective to improve the the lives of women and girls in crisis throughout Asia. The organisation was established in answer to the need for aid and awareness by Chris and Liza Green, who wanted to encourage people to be more intimately involved in the lives of the individuals they seek to help.

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New Day founders Liza and Chris Green (far right) with members Stephanie and Paul Early and Matara staff.

New Day focuses on “engagement” via various grassroots projects which enable members to learn more about the difficulties faced by many women and girls in developing Asia, visit projects first hand, and feel a real sense of connection to New Day beneficiaries. The organisation has held several events in the past to support women and girls in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Nepal, and now we look forward to creating a brighter future for those in Sri Lanka.


Get involved! While it is too late to sign up to the hike itself, you can still make a donation directly on the New Day website, where you can find out more about the organisation and the projects it supports.

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