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Solihull School

Solihull School

Why not fly to Shanghai? - Alex Hurst

Back in January 2013, former pupil Alex Hurst decided to cycle the length of the Silk Road, from Istanbul to Shanghai, through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China . Why? Alex explains:
'We thought that cycling sounded like a challenge, a breath of fresh air between leaving university and starting work. Driving seemed too fast, walking too slow, so we decided to cycle. We are both keen cyclists, and thought it was the ideal way to experience everything that the Silk Road might have to offer. We still think that, but have come to think that there is something more to the journey. We want to cycle to raise money for two causes close to our hearts, the Lantern Community and the Craft Training School. It is now June 2013, and in a week we are setting off to Istanbul to begin our 10,000 kilometre journey'.

The Causes
Alex wants to support the work of two local causes, one located in the United Kingdom, and the other in Uzbekistan. The Lantern Community is a home in Hampshire for adults with learning difficulties, providing a space in which they can live in an equal relationship with others. The Craft Training School  is a workshop in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, which teaches traditional craft techniques to young women providing them with a livelihood. Nicolas has a personal connection to the Lantern Community, where a member of his family lives.  Alex has a personal connection to the Craft Training School through his supervisors at Cambridge, who have fired him with enthusiasm for well thought through development projects, and suggested the Training School as a worthwhile cause. We want to raise money for both the Lantern Community and the Craft Training School to fund craft projects. In the Lantern Community, the money will be used to buy craft equipment which will add depth to the quality of life of members of the community, while at the Craft Training School, it will fund a project teaching traditional craft techniques which will aid twenty young women in developing a sustainable livelihood. We see a thread linking the Lantern Community and the Craft Training School. In Uzbekistan, as in the United Kingdom, craft has an important role to play in empowering the disadvantaged.

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