Orna Joyce from Cheekpoint, County Waterford, is undertaking an epic journey this summer, cycling the 4,000km from Amsterdam to Istanbul – 8.25 times the length of Ireland – in aid of Microcredit, the developing world benefactors.
The ‘Riding to Break the Cycle’ challenge during July and August will entail five days a week at 100km per day, and then two days a week in which activities with local beneficiaries of the Microcredit system will be organised, or educational sessions for locals and/or those partaking.
Orna, 24, explains: “There will be 25 of us young people traversing the continent, all from different parts of the world, as part of Global Agents for Change – a non-profit, mainly student-run, Canadian registered charity which raises funds for educating third- and first-world citizens alike in how they can make a difference in life.
“They also collect money and work in conjunction with Kiva.org, the world’s biggest Microcredit Bank, in order to give small, low or no interest loans to underprivileged entrepreneurs.”
Orna’s family moved to the Suir Estuary a few years ago from County Wicklow. Her parents now run Three Rivers Guesthouse in Cheekpoint, and also own Limeleaf Restaurant on the Quay in Waterford City.
Her mother, Theresa (née Dunne) was born near Carrolls Cross, Kilmacthomas, and so most of Orna’s family and relations are from the Waterford area.
Last September she completed her degree in Music Performance (Opera) training as an Opera Singer in the Dublin Conservatory of Music, DIT and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.
From there she did a semester in Corvinus University in Budapest, studying Human Development and Ethnicity.
She recently moved to La Thuile to work at the Auberge sur la Montagne, to enjoy the ski season and raise money for the Global Agents for Change.
“Not normally the athletic type, I feel toil and trouble looming,” she says of her upcoming odyssey. “However, I am passionate about bringing about a fairer and better world. I took classes for one Semester in Ethnicity and Human Development at Corvinus University in Budapest and hope to go and work in Human Development.
“I got involved in this project in April 2008 and have since then been on the organisational board working hard on logistics and educational planning. For the moment this is how I plan to make my difference, but let it be known that this is only the beginning and hopefully I won’t die trying… literally!” ‘Riding to Break the Cycle’ is all about generating critical discussion, funds and awareness for global poverty. Microcredit involves the provision of small trust-based loans to developing world entrepreneurs struggling to pull themselves and their families out of poverty.
Each rider’s goal is to raise awareness about Microcredit and raise around €4,000. Orna is organising several fundraising activities, including piano lessons, classical concerts, a bikini ski and ski-a-thon. She is keeping the
public updated about her campaign via http://apps.facebook.com