A kind-hearted Dublin teacher is trekking 2,000km to transform the lives of disadvantaged children in Vietnam.

Sean Down, 44, who is originally from Rathfarnham will set off this morning on a charity walking trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City via a mountainous route. He is being accompanied by good pal Jake Norris from Australia.

The pals are hoping to raise $200,0000 USD for charities which rescue trafficked women, children, and teenagers. Speaking to Dublin Live, Sean and Jake explained that they both work as teachers and that they are "so excited" for their charity walk.

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Sean has lived in Hanoi for the past seven years. Their chosen charities for the trek to Vietnam are Blue Dragon and Thanh Loc Project.

Sean told Dublin Live: "Jake’s from a small town in south Australia called Burra, and I’m from Rathfarnham. We’re leaving early Saturday morning 2 December and we both live in Hanoi so no need for a plane.

"Although we’ll probably fly back! We talked about getting out bikes shipped down and driving back but we may be sick of the sight of each other by then."

Dublin teacher Vietnam charity walk
Jake and Sean will be travelling deep through the mountains to Ho Chi Minh City

When asked about what inspired the trip, Sean and Jake explained that there are a lot of difficulties facing underprivileged people in Vietnam. They said: "Trafficking, for example, is a big problem. Blue Dragon is a charity organisation which helps bring trafficked people back home to Vietnam.

"Young women are trafficked into brothels in neighboring countries, or forced into marriages in China; young men get tricked into forced labor. It’s estimated that $1 brings a trafficked person, on average, one kilometer closer to home.

"In the south of the country, Thanh Loc project does amazing work with underprivileged children. $150 puts a kid through a full year of education, which includes books, transport, insurance, food and clean water, so you can see that what to some of us isn’t really a lot of money can make an enormous difference here."

Sean and Jake have trained hard for the last couple of months ahead of their charity walk, but they've never travelled quite so far before. Sean said: "I was back in Ireland visiting the mammy in Donegal this summer, but even then I only managed about 300km in the 5 weeks I was back. The weather this summer was shocking.

"Jake did the Camino (about 1,000km of it) 9 or 10 years ago, and he’s a lot fitter (and younger) than I am. We’ve been working with a PT here and I’ve been getting stronger, but realistically we’re going to build most of our resistance on the walk itself."

Dublin teacher trek to Vietnam
Jake Norris and Sean Down with the ukulele

Sean is also taking his ukulele on the walk to keep the pair entertained. They also plan to listen to podcasts, learn Spanish, and spend some time walking out of earshot of each other to protect their friendship.

The journey is expected to take three months, but the lads don't know exactly when they will arrive at their destination. Sean said: "We really don’t know! We’ll organise an event, of course, and we’re being supported by the Irish and Australian embassies here so no doubt there will be a few pints dropped.

"Hopefully by then we’ll have smashed our target of $200,000 so we’ll have real cause for a celebration. The Irish embassy donated EUR 5,000 and the Australian embassy gave AUD 5,000."

Sean and Jake added that they are "really excited" for the trip and they hope that it will be "an amazing adventure." All donations will be split between Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation and the Thanh Loc Project.

Sean and Jake will be sharing their journey via their Instagram, Facebook and TikTok accounts @vietnamcharitywalk.

To donate to the cause, visit their fundraising page.

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