Finley’s Bruce Taig and former local Rowan English have embarked on the trip of a lifetime, all to raise awareness of the need for prosthetics and orthotics.
The childhood friends left Australia for Dili (India) yesterday as part of a four month motorbike trip of Asia.
Head of the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics at La Trobe University, Mr English (pictured) said the aim was to highlight the need for prosthetics and orthotics in many Southeast Asian countries.
On their way to Kobe in Japan, the pair will be stopping at a number of universities and colleges.
At the same time, he and Mr Taig aim to educate people on the work done by charities such as The Cambodia Trust, Handicap International and the Red Cross.
Mr English said these organisations aim to increase the mobility and functional skills of people with disabilities.
This often involves providing access to prosthetics and orthotics services, and training skilled practitioners in the field.
‘‘Land mines and unexploded ordinance have been a big issue in Cambodia and Laos since the 1970s, leading to huge demand for prosthetics services,’’ Mr English said.
‘‘Now, it’s not just land mines but also an increase in traffic accidents in Cambodia, as the cities become increasingly modernised and crowded.’’
Mr English and Mr Taig will also visit a number of universities and colleges, including in Jakarta, Bangkok, and Phnom Penh, as part of the 19,000km motorbike journey.
He aims to continue to develop partnerships that allow students from countries such as Cambodia to come to Australia to continue to their studies, and also provide opportunities for La Trobe students to study or undertake placements in Southeast Asia.
La Trobe has previously had a study partnership with a college in Phnom Penh, offering distance education to students from a range of countries to help them develop skills and expertise in prosthetics and orthotics.
‘‘La Trobe is the only university with this level of prosthetics and orthotics program in the southern hemisphere,’’ Mr English said.
‘‘Given the need for expertise in this area in Southeast Asia, La Trobe can continue to play a role in helping develop this knowledge.’’
But while there is a work component to the trip, Mr English says that it is also about enjoying the experience of what is bound to be a challenging trip at times.
The journey is the culmination of a decade of daydreaming and two years of planning.
‘‘This trip combines my passions for travel, meeting people and riding motorbikes, as well as my profession of prosthetics and orthotics,’’ he said.
Mr English and Mr Taig both grew up on Finley farms and have been riding motorbikes together since they were kids.
They are sure to have their skills tested as they travel through Timor Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, South Korea and Japan.
The pair’s journey started on February 22 when they left Melbourne for Darwin.
They planned to fly out of Darwin yesterday for India.
Follow Rowan’s journey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/latrobe.2wheels.
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