The year started on a high for Helping Hands as, following further closures at the end of last year, our doors finally opened again in January! However, after the initial high, the roller coaster continued: just weeks after the new school year started in February, a new outbreak of Covid-19 in Cambodia caused the government to rush to lockdown again. Unfortunately, the rules have meant we haven’t been able to do much for most of March, but we are happy to have opened at least for at least a while and we achieved a lot in that short time!
New Year, New Faces
We were so excited to welcome our students to Helping Hands at the beginning of the year. All the children and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get back into the swing of a slightly more normal daily life, including eating our delicious and nutritious breakfasts!
We’ve expanded our program this year, introducing gardening lessons. Our older students learn how to look after the land and grow crops and have been busy planting long bean, chili and eggplant in our on-site garden, which is looking amazing!
It was great to welcome 52 new students to the school this year and we are looking forward to seeing their progress. Alongside new students, we welcomed Jared Cahners to the team, as our new Sports Programme Manager. He is well known in Siem Reap as “The Frisbee Guy” and speaks Khmer, so he had a solid base from which to start and is coming up with some great ideas to keep the students active and motivated.
Our students were particularly excited to get back out onto the sports field, and our amazing sports coaches got stuck in, running great sessions, including warm-ups, games, drills and lots of fun! With the support of our donors, we have been able to purchase lots of new equipment and we’re also working on new lesson plans, ensuring we to come up with new ways to make our students sweat and smile.
With schools open again, the team re-focused their efforts on making a bigger impact on the community, by partnering with 6 nearby primary schools. Children at these schools haven’t had access to PE before and are really enjoying the new activities and challenges.
And Goals for Girls got off to a flying start too! Designed to teach female middle and high school students about leadership, through sports, this programme is currently focused on students at Helping Hands, but we hope to expand once restrictions ease again. Through girls-only sports sessions, the girls are learning to identify leadership roles, how they might be able to fill them and raise their voices as leaders, sometimes a daunting task!
The good news is that that the government will hopefully allow schools to open in April, so we’ll be able to share more progress and news with you at the end of the next quarter. For now, all that remains is to say a huge THANK YOU to you, our wonderful supporters! Without you, Helping Hands wouldn’t be able to continue supporting the children of Prasat Char.