A FEW years ago, a group of Aussie lads were helping out in the underprivileged areas of Thailand.
As they walked past numerous red light districts, they were met with offers to come and see the dehumanising ‘ping pong’ shows.
They’d already seen the misery caused by this kind of exploitation of women, many of whom were still children.
As western men, they realised they were in the privileged demographic with the most ability to exploit.
But if we have the ability to cause the most exploitation, maybe we equally have the ability to do the reverse?
The thought passed through their minds that if ping pong was being used to exploit the vulnerable, maybe it could be used to help these same people.
That’s when Ping Pong-A-Thon was born.
The Ping Pong-A-Thon is a dynamic and fun 24-hour table tennis event that runs in venues across Australia every October to help end the exploitation and trafficking of young people.
It’s has now spread to over 50 locations across Australia and New Zealand.
For the past three year Ash Belsar and a group of local lads and lasses have jumped on board this very worthy cause.
Ash, whose wife was a refugee from South East Asia, has seen firsthand the good and bad that money coming out of Australia can do to this region.
“Being from the lucky country we have the ability to exploit poorer nations and their people for our advantage, or we can use the same power we have to help promote their future wellbeing and break this negative cycle,” he said.
With the help of the Westernport Hotel in San Remo, a bunch of like-minded crew will be playing ping pong, some for as little as three hours, some for up to 24 hours, to raise money to help those caught in human-trafficking across south east Asia.
This year’s event will be held from 6pm, Friday, October 14 to 6pm Saturday, October 15 at the Westernport.
The group of over 20 players are looking for more players and the group’s best fundraising effort saw over $3000 raised.
When asked for tips on staying awake for 24 hours Ash suggested ‘strong coffee, don’t stop playing for too long and friends that threaten to shave your eyebrows off if you fall asleep!’
“The money raised is distributed to nine different charities working to empower those wanting to escape the human-trafficking treadmill,” Ash said.
“One of these charities in Cambodia helps get kids out of prostitution and re-trains them as tour guides. Please help us give hope to those who can’t yet help themselves.”
Anyone keen on participating can join via https://www.registernow.com.au/secure/Register.aspx?E=21653&G=39059 or to sponsor Ash, visit https://www.registernow.com.au/secure/Fundraiser.aspx?F=5746