Who Are We?

Bridging the Gap Mekong Trust is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the education and employment prospects of impoverished children living in remote river villages along the Mekong River in Northern Laos.

Young students with their first book and pencil
Young students with their first book and pencil

The Trust, which has 5 trustees is registered with the NZ Government (Registration No CC21828) and our registration details can be found at the New Zealand Charities Commission. The trust has no religious or political affiliations.

It was founded by two Kiwi brothers Martin & Geoff Collins who have lived, worked and travelled extensively all over Asia, much of it on trail bikes.

Geoff & Marty delivering new desks to Ban Hatteu 2006
Geoff & Marty delivering new desks to Ban Hatteu 2006

By being able to travel where there is little or no vehicle access enables a wider, richer cultural experience and greater understanding of the economic and social challenges some of these isolated communities face.

Martin who has been in the advertising business for over 26 years, works as a TV commercials producer in NZ, while Geoff has been working across Asia Pacific for the last 12 years in senior management positions in the advertising industry, is based in Bangkok.

Mike Higgins is CFO of Clemmengers BBDO and the Trust Secretary. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and Institute of Directors and holds directorships of a number of Advertising and Media companies.

Trust Chairman Peter Biggs
Trust Chairman Peter Biggs

The Trust’s Chairman is Peter Biggs. He is Managing Director of Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, winner of the B&T Agency of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Campaign Brief Agency of the Year in 2008 and AdNews Agency of the Year in 2008. In New Zealand, he is Chair of the NZ Book Council and Chair of the Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce.

Mike inspecting building progress at Ban Lad Khammune 2008
Mike inspecting building progress at Ban Lad Khammune 2008

Mike Horner is a Wellington based business advisor with many years experience of life and work in Asia.

All the trustees’ time is voluntary, they pay their own travel expenses to and from Laos and there are no management or administration fees deducted.

Mike Higgins & our Thai interpreter Pam
Mike Higgins & our Thai interpreter Pam

Every dollar of every donation is dedicated towards improving these children’s educational prospects from the building of new schools, provision of Laos language exercise & text books, chairs, desks, and school supplies.