Cambodia Trip 2008

Trip Report

In the Term Three holidays Rangitoto College teachers and students travelled to Cambodia to make a difference for people living in poverty.  While we went to give help, we gained the experience of a lifetime.

Cambodia is considered one of the 10 poorest nations in the world, poorer than Tanzania and Peru.  It has suffered in recent history and was in the midst of a civil war until 1998.  Since then, Cambodians have struggled to catch up to their neighbours – to provide adequate education, health care and nutrition for their families. Government corruption is a significant barrier to progress for these people.  Even today almost 80% live in rural areas and only 40% have access to safe drinking water. 

group at airportIt is with this in mind that 17 students and 8 teachers dedicated the last 12 months to trying to raise as much money as possible to help rural families and orphaned children.

With YOUR support we were able to raise more than $19000 in sponsorship money for our project work in Cambodia. Every dollar raised makes a huge difference in a country like Cambodia.  

The first project was building houses for poor rural families, who have worked for years to save the $30 needed to participate in the project.  This is run by the Tabitha Foundation who aim to develop a culture of saving among Cambodian families. Each family has to save US$30 to buy their plot of land for their home. Our task is then to raise the $1500 for the house and help build it so the family can move in. Their anxious and expectant faces were beside us all day as we built their new homes. When finally we finished there was much emotion on both sides as we presented them with a much more durable and waterproof home, than there former dirt floored thatched dwelling.

With your help we were able to build 8 houses in a small rural village 1 hour north of Phnom Penh.  On the next page is Carl Adam’s record of the house building experience.

boy at dumpWhile house building was the main purpose of our trip, we were also pleased to be able to help two orphanages in Phnom Penh.  We spent time teaching English and playing games with children from the New Future For Children and Centre for Children’s Happiness orphanages.  The founder of CCH was a rubbish dump orphan himself. These children were the lucky ones….they had been rescued from a life of poverty, illness and exploitation on the notorious rubbish dump in central Phnom Penh, known locally as Smokey Mountain. The money raised for them will help provide clothing, an education and other necessities. Their goal is to help these children become well educated, fluent in English, and computer literate so they can become gainfully employed as adults – breaking out of the cycle of poverty from which they’ve come!

Some of us actually visited the rubbish dump. This was a distinctly unpleasant experience. Below is a quote from a student who tried to put this experience into words;

The rubbish dump trip was life changing for those who were able to experience it first hand.

Along with our time and a cash donation of $US1500 for each orphanage, we were also able to give them items using some of the funds donated to our trip.  Posters, books, pencils, sports equipment and toys were given and these were greatly appreciated by those in charge, who thanked us for all our help. 

New Future Children's HomeIn total we spent 9 days in Cambodia, seeing the cultural treasures such as Angkor Wat and Apsara dancing but also helping wherever possible.  We then visited one of the many Killing Fields, a place of immense sadness, and the burial grounds of millions of people executed, starved or tortured to death.  Students and teachers learned first hand the wickedness that some leaders can inflict on their people.  It was a sobering experience for everyone and helped us understand why the people of Cambodia need our help. The trip was an incredible experience and we couldn’t have done all the wonderful things without your support.  Thank you so much for the donation that you made for the house building and orphanages.  We hope you will consider helping us again next year as we try to build even more houses and help these children once again.
It was pleasure taking such wonderful group of young people to Cambodia, they did such a fantastic job and Rangitoto College can be proud of their conduct and compassion. 

thanks

We would also like to endorse these three organisations.  We saw first hand their dedication to the Cambodian people and how carefully their allocated spending of the meager funds they had. 

If you’d like to know more about these homes please visit the following websites:

Thank you once more and we hope you found this report useful and interesting.

Best Wishes,

Sarah Wakeford  and  Michelle Parkinson