Experiences

Volunteer Spotlight: June

The money also bought a class set of text books...

I retired from teaching Dec. 2005 after having taught at Mt.Martha primary for the last 24 years. When I arrived in Siem Reap I taught at the day centre in the mornings, and then I’d teach from 5-00p.m -7-00p.m. at the ‘School for Poverty Children’ run by the Monks. They have 500 children through each day. 1 hr. lessons. One grade had 56 Children in it. All so eager to learn English.

Rem met me at the airport with his Tuk-Tuk and I knew straight away that it was going to work. The children at the day centre stole my heart. Especially the toddlers who wander in without a stitch on and stay playing all morning. Not a parent in sight. The kids arrive at school whenever their parents allow them time off from begging. They shower, wash their hair, change into their T.shirts, then wash their own clothes. Time to play. Have a hug. English classes, a hot lunch, then back out onto the streets.

"The sad reality is that these children, as young as 5 yrs. old, are often the primary breadwinners for their families. Their living conditions are desperate, either living in very poor housing or no housing at all." I actually saw one family sleeping on the footpath in town, open to abuse and disease. I had collected an extra donation to the project that I raised from my golf club back home. I hadn’t mentioned our donations to Rem until I was sure the money would be used wisely.

When I saw Rem with an enormous bunch of bananas to share, and a bag of rice for each child to take home each Friday, I knew it was O.K. The money also bought a class set of text books, school uniforms and books for the children who were allowed time off from begging to attend their own local Khmer school. We also paid the $10 annual school fees for some of these children. Food for lunches. Rent and helping this struggling young couple to make a difference.