The owners of the Coca and Mango Tree restaurant brands, recently welcomed their franchisee teams from around the region to a special event that saw them climbing in Thailand’s Sam Roi Yot national park in support of the Zy Movement Foundation, an organisation assisting children born with movement difficulties.
In a moving weekend of activities, franchisee partners from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam joined the Coca and Mango Tree teams of Bangkok in helping the little ones from the Zy Foundation climb the 750-metre Khao Daeng.
Some US$25,000 (Bt814,800) was raised for the Zy Foundation, which will go towards one year’s worth of doctors’ visits for five families, training for 25 therapists specialising in assistance with children with movement difficulties and supporting future Zy Movement Foundation activities.
But it was the inspirational experience of helping and supporting the children during the difficult rocky climb, which often took up to three people per child, that left a strong impression on all participants. They witnessed a level of courage and determination by the children that brought many close to tears.
“It was a moving experience for everyone,” said Coca Restaurants chief executive Pitaya Phanphensophon. “We feel strongly that children deserve equal opportunities but some are less fortunate than others when born. So through this climb we are trying to create greater understanding of the millions of children with movement difficulties throughout Asia and to support and encourage the incredible efforts so far in their lives.”
The Zy Movement Foundation was set up by Walter Lee, whose 11-year-old son Zy was among the 10 climbers with movement difficulties, all of whom came with their families.
“It means a lot to the children and their families to have this kind of support and I am very proud of them all,” Lee said. “The decency and compassion over the two days of the climb to a fellow human being by all participants, offering a hand from their hearts to realise unfulfilled dreams, is nothing short of an act of an angel. It gives the children a level of hope, dignity and camaraderie that is truly raises their spirits.”
A total of 70 people participated in the “Climb To Change A Life” project to Khao Daeng and Mango Tree’s managing partner and managing director Trevor MacKenzie said he hoped that it would lead to climbs in the countries of the restaurant group’s franchisee partners throughout Asia.
“It brought everyone together. We shared some very special moments as colleagues in the most human way possible and for this we are very grateful to the Zy Movement Foundation. The fight of the children as they climbed the mountain was a huge inspiration to us all,” he said. “There is a lot of interest to launch similar programmes overseas and we look forward to being a part of that in the years to come.”