TCD students make ‘Jailbreak’ to Sydney without a cent

Volunteers raise thousands for charity by travelling as far as possible without using money


Two students succeeded in travelling from Dublin to Sydney over the weekend without a penny in their pockets.

Kyryll Chulak and Salim Sebaoui, medical students from Trinity College Dublin, were the overall winners of the annual Jailbreak student charity event. The event challenges students to travel as far as possible from their starting point in 36 hours without any money.

Over 200 students set out from Kilmainham Gaol, Cork Gaol and Eyre Square, Galway on Saturday morning hoping to travel as far as possible before 9pm on Sunday.

Mr Sebaoui told RTÉ Radio how they took the “easier” option of organising sponsorship before the event. With the help of a tour company, the team was able to get return tickets to Sydney without paying a cent.

Jack Cantillon, who organised the event from Trinity College, explained students were advised to approach businesses for air-miles and airline companies for standby tickets. “They’re allowed to pre-plan and had about three weeks to prepare the trip,” said Mr Cantillon.

Students involved in the Jailbreak event travelled as far as Singapore, Honolulu, New York and Seattle. “Some even made it to Letterkenny,” added Mr Cantillon.

However, some participants have had real trouble getting home and many teams are now stranded, trying to make the journey back to Ireland with no money.

Sam Gray and Robert Rutledge, medical students from Trinity College, travelled to Finland over the weekend to chase the Northern Lights. Having already raised over €3,200 for charity, they are now trying the find a flight home from Stockholm.

“People here have been so friendly, we’ve even found Erasmus students to put us up for the night,” said Mr Gray. “But we really need to find sponsorship to help us get home.”

This year’s student-organised event has already raised €34,490 for Amnesty International and St Vincent de Paul.

The runners up were Sean Kearns and Aoife Ní Shuilleabháin from NUIG who made it all the way to Denpasar in Bali wearing wedding dresses.

“They wanted to promote marriage equality,” said Mr Cantillon. “They went out, took a stand, and got all the way to Bali.”

Clare Cryan from UCD said Twitter played a huge role in helping students find sponsorship to travel abroad.

The UCD students to travel the furthest reached Jamaica within the 36-hour window.

Students from UCD also made it to Dubai, Tenerife and Italy. “All the colleges involved were pulling their weight, but it was Trinity that really pulled out all the stops,” said Ms Cryan.

“There are very few events when lots of universities work together, but we all came together to raise money for these fantastic causes,” she added.

Students from UCC also took part in the challenge, with six teams of two setting off from Cork city.

Samantha Cooney, chairwoman of the UCC Amnesty International society, explained why the university decided to get involved.

“We thought it was really innovative, creative and fun, and a fantastic opportunity to raise a lot of money for the charities,” she said. “It just seemed like a no-brainer.”

The UCC teams raised approx €5,000, with the winning team travelling to Bursa in Turkey.

Mr Cantillon said there was no cut-off date for people to donate to the charities supported by Jailbreak.

“People could donate in July if they wanted, but we’d like people to donate as soon as possible,” he said.

Donations may be made on the website