In December 2005, Daniela Papi (ND ’00) and five friends decided the best way to experience Cambodia was to cycle through it. They traced out a 1,000-mile route over the course of five weeks and learned about Cambodia’s culture and history by visiting sights such as the Killing Fields and the Angkor Wat temple complex. When the trip ended, Papi and a friend founded PEPY Tours, a venture that combines off-the-beaten path Cambodian tours with the opportunity to do hands-on volunteer work along the way.
Today, PEPY – Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself – is both an international non-governmental organization (NGO) known as The PEPY Ride, and an educational adventure and service-learning tour operator, PEPY Tours, that helps to fund education programs while inspiring change in the way people live, travel and give.
From its roots, PEPY has had a strong relationship with the University of Notre Dame, ranging from students serving as interns, to alumni taking jobs with the organization to assist in business planning.
On Oct. 6-8, PEPY is coming to campus to hold a fundraising event, ND Bikes Cambodia – Pedal With Purpose. A stationary bike will be set up in the front of South Dining Hall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., leading up to the ND-Pitt game, that will be used for a simulated bike ride tracking a 360 mile route from one side of Cambodia to the other. Students, faculty and others will be taking turns riding the bike for blocks of time from 15 minutes to one hour. Supporters can contribute per-mile or lump-sum donations, with 100 percent of funds going to PEPY.
In addition, the stationary bike will be moved to the Mendoza College of Business Alumni Tailgate located in the College courtyard on Oct. 9 during the Notre Dame/Pitt game-day tailgate from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
PEPY's mission is to aid rural communities in improving their own standards of living, with a focus on increased access to quality education. Through its partner government schools and informal education initiatives, PEPY supports education for more than 1,700 families in 12 villages and 10 schools in rural Siem Reap.
To learn more about the event or to contribute, contact Holly Ray, president of the Notre Dame MBA Sports Business Club, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about PEPY’s educational programs, visit www.pepyride.org. PEPY Tours sets itself apart from other “voluntourism” providers by focusing on educational adventures in rural Cambodia from multi-week bike tours to service learning projects. To learn more about upcoming tours, visit www.pepytours.com