Julie Veloo is riding 700 kilometres through Mongolia on her charity’s annual fundraiser, the Gobi Gallop Ride Challenge, to raise funds for children in Mongolia.
“The Gobi Gallop is the longest annual charity horseback ride on the planet,” said the Veloo Foundation vice-president.
Since moving to Mongolia more than 10 years ago, splitting her time between there and the Okanagan Valley in Canada, Veloo has been dedicated to changing the lives of displaced herdsmen and their children, who are forced to scavenge through garbage dumps to survive.
The Veloo Foundation runs The Children of the Peak Sanctuary Project in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
“Now we have two kindergartens and we have over 300 kids off of the garbage dump and being fed, cared for and educated,” said Veloo. “We also have a summer camp for 300 children and we have a community library.”
In years past, the Gobi Gallop was a grand event attracting riders from around the world and raising upwards of $50,000 a year for the foundation. This year, COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop Veloo from keeping the event going this year she is taking it on by herself.
“People are taking turns riding with me,” said Veloo. “Even though it’s called the Solo Challenge, I am not riding off into the distance on my horse by myself; I do take people along for for safety and for company and so far we have done 235 kilometres in three days.”
So far she has raised just over $8,000 but she says it’s crucial that she gets much closer to her $50,000 fundraising goal.
“(Not reaching the goal would) involve cutbacks and not lay offs – but we won’t be able to take as many children as we otherwise would; that’s what this is all about how many kids can we take and how many can we help,” said Veloo.
Veloo has been keeping everyone up to date on her nine-day ride on their Facebook page, where you can follow along, donate and get to know the families the foundation help.