Paul Forrester-Brown is not your average high-school teacher. In May 2017, he decided to strap on a pair of shoes and start walking. From Robe, South Australia to Bendigo, Victoria. A total distance of 500km.
Not only did Paul do this to honour the history of Chinese migrants, who often faced this unimaginable task during the 1860’s Gold Rush– but he put his body on the line to raise money to build homes in Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity.
“I have always had a place in my heart for Cambodia. I wanted to do more to support the Cambodian people, so I combined my love of Cambodia with my desire to help and found Habitat for Humanity, who I know do great work.” Paul explains. He wants to inspire future generations by showing them that they CAN make a difference, so he is taking 50 students with him on a transformational home-building experience.
A 500km walk is no easy task. For two weeks Paul soldiered on; day in, day out, resting only to sleep in the swag that he carried on his back. “One day it rained 50mm–I just had to keep going and going without breaks to find shelter. My feet became sore walking on the hot tarmac of the roads.” He explains. “But I just kept focused and thought of how others persevere through hard times, some people have no choice when going through the same conditions’
Paul has inspired many people with this mammoth undertaking. From the entire Habitat for Humanity team, his students, friends and family – to the people he met on his journey. One particularly dark night, a group of young men pulled over to where Paul was walking to offer him a beer. Paul explained why he was out there in the dark, walking along a deserted road, and the group of friends caught his excitement and began making their own plans to give back to the global community. Another lady chased him down the street to offer him a hot cross bun – the only thing she had to give, and she wanted him to have it.
“I came up with the idea of walking about 5 years ago, but this build was the motivation I needed to actually go out and do it. I love walking, and I thought I would put this passion to good use.”
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