Jenny Watson

Cause: UN Women Australia
Adventure: UN Women’s Ride for Rights 2016
Fundraising Page:
Social: @jennybirdz

As our Adventurer of the Month, Jenny has scored herself a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher! To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

What inspired you to take on your first Inspired Adventure for UN Women?

So many factors led me to taking on my first Inspired Adventure with UN Women but the key inspiration is my mum. Over 35 years ago, she left Vietnam along with her family in search for a better life. It takes a lot of bravery to do what they did, not knowing where they’d end up, facing dangers I can’t begin to comprehend. We are so lucky to have our family all here in Australia, but so many are not so lucky. I’m inspired to help those who stayed, who are a part of the country’s story and culture and, where I can, I’d like help their communities grow and increase their quality of life. This adventure will be nothing like her journey, I know I’ll be safe, happy and well fed, but this ride is in homage to mum’s story.

What made you decide to cycle for UN Women?

Last year I made a resolution to give back more. I looked up volunteering programs overseas because the idea of seeing the world while helping a community grow really appealed to me. UN Women is a great cause and one of the best things about this adventure is the bang for buck. For 12 days of our time, we’ve contributed over $100,000 to projects in Vietnam and Cambodia. Our funds go directly to projects that empower women in Vietnam and Cambodia. We’ve been getting project updates from UN Women and can see our funds already making a difference.

What do you think is so exciting about being able to take on an adventure as well as give to a cause you care about?

I feel like that this adventure has purpose, riding for a cause, travelling to a foreign country, camaraderie with the team … we could be just raising the funds. But there is something more engaging – more personal – by combining both the travel and contributing to a truly worthy cause. I’m so excited about visiting the project sites, meeting those making a difference directly to their communities and travelling with like-minded people.

"There is something more engaging – more personal – by combining both travel and contributing to a truly worthy cause."

What are your total funds raised for UN Women so far? Are there any key fundraising ideas that have contributed to the bulk of your success?

So far I’ve raised just over $6,000, about half of this was raised through fundraising events and the other half from donations from my network of family, friends and colleagues. I organised a high tea in October at the Burbury Hotel here in Canberra where we raised $1,500. It required a lot of work in the background, but I had so much support from the loves in my life and local businesses as well.

What have been some of the highlights of your fundraising experience so far?

Definitely the highlight is seeing donations come through from people you don’t expect. People who I met years back and hardly see, uni student friends and family, people who I have just met … seeing their names give me the biggest smile. It is a nice feeling to know that other people believe in the cause and that your support network is wider than you think.

What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?

I think the biggest challenge was organising the fundraising events. I love organising events, shindigs and parties, but you can only stretch yourself so far. The events were very successful and fun, and I’m really lucky that I had the support of family, friends and work colleagues. My work colleagues literally just picked up an existing event they were organising and decided that all the funds went to my ride.

"This adventure will be nothing like [my mum's] journey. I know I’ll be safe, happy and well fed, but this ride is in homage to [her] story."

Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since taking on your first adventure?

Besides the physical changes I’ve noticed from training (oh my thighs!), I have found myself giving more to other causes, even if it’s just $10 here or there. I’m also thoroughly enjoying learning more about UN Women. The more I learn, the more I want dive in headfirst and help.

What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?

Ask for help. It’s not unreasonable to fundraise the travel costs. Selling chocolates is a slow way of making a little bit of money. Remember there is a support vehicle driving behind you the whole way so just do it!

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Become our Adventurer of the Month to win a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher

Take a picture whilst on your adventure or when you’re training and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with an adventure, and fitness focus will be our Adventurer of the Month – it’s that easy!