Running to make a change as schoolteacher celebrates run from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

By Lauran O’Toole
May 22 2020, 15.55

A schoolteacher’s mammoth 2,200km run to turn Vietnamese people’s lives around has raised more than £23,000.  

The incredible achievement was unsupported in aid of education and anti- trafficking charities.

The run started on October 6 last year and finished on March 20.

Naomi Skinner said: “I am the first female to run solo from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

“I aim to raise money and awareness for my chosen organisations, which will ensure children receive an education for a brighter future and that will see the end of human trafficking.”

Naomi has personal connections to all five charities she is fundraising for after working at an international school in Ho Chi Minh City for 4 years.

She said: “I worked with some of the charities during this period. I believe that education is every child’s right and these charities work to get the paperwork needed for the kids to access education, as well as ensuring they have a safe environment to come to.

“I am also working with anti-trafficking charities that work with women to reintegrate them into society through education and holistic care.”

One of the selected charities, Blue Dragon, works throughout Vietnam rescuing children in crisis.

Xin Chao a representative for Blue Dragon said: “Naomi can be proud of what she’s achieved. All of us at Blue Dragon are cheering for her!

“It’s a hundred marathons to turn a young person’s life around, not just a one-off sprint.”

VICTORY: Naomi as she crossed the finish line 

Blue Dragon works throughout Vietnam meeting young homeless people, or those in slavery, taking them to safety by helping them get back on their feet.

Xin said: “The money that Naomi has raised will help kids with their recovery from trauma by providing both immediate needs such as shelter and food through to training and job preparation.”

Annetta Devet from the programme Blossom House that Naomi is supporting said: “The money raised will provide education; legal rights; healthcare and empowerment for girls whose lives have been affected by extreme poverty and other forms of trauma.”

On average Naomi ran 21km a day despite not classing herself as a runner before.

She credited the kindness of strangers who she met along the way that welcomed her into their homes.

Training tirelessly in the months leading up to the run Naomi upped her running distances to build up endurance but was challenged further as she battled coronavirus fears. 

It was not the ending Naomi was expecting as two finish line events were cancelled due to the coronavirus.

She said: “In recent weeks, I have faced issues relating to the coronavirus. I have been refused accommodation and to be served in restaurants due to fear.”

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