While I was there, I found several great programs such as the Green Gecko Organization www.greengeckoproject.org, About Asia Schools www.aboutasiaschools.org, and Helping Hands Cambodia http://www.grovesphotography.com/helping_hand.htm). I was highly impressed with their mission statement, but I didn’t have enough time or reservation to participate in their volunteer program. However, I did find two other programs that welcomed and needed my support.
1. Preahatit Community Development Organization of Cambodia: The orphanage/community shelter was in desperate need of everything from proper shelter, food, clothing, and attention. On my second visit to the orphanage, I was lucky to have Jessica Campbell and Davidson Lloyd there with me to help deliver some food to the shelter. This little mission of bringing rice to the shelter became a great challenge as the only road to the orphanage was flooded. The tuk-tuk carrying the rice broke down three times because the engine kept getting wet. When we finally arrived, the children swarmed us like superstars because we had brought them rice. How amazing is that? We spent most of the time playing games such as Steal the Branch and tag. It was a fantastic day!
2. Volunteer Development Children’s Association: As soon as I saw the campus, I knew right away it was the program for me. After fifteen minutes of meeting me the owner/manager, Togh Main, asked if I wanted to teach a few of the classes. As much as I wanted to jump right in, I thought it would be best to observe the classroom dynamic first. I did spend rest of the week co-teaching with the local teachers from 4pm to 7pm. It was great working with the local teachers, and it felt really good to give back to those who needed it.
Overall, this October trip to Siem Reap was a HUGE success for me.
- It gave me clear directions as to where to start
- A better understanding of the poverty level in Cambodia
- Opportunities to meet and learn from others who are also trying to help Cambodia
- Building connections with the locals and seeing things from their perspectives
- Seeing hope in Cambodia’s future