If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.
Supporting Cambodian children in their quest for knowledge
A small group of Lake Macquarie people had one thing in common – we had all been to Cambodia and witnessed the country’s poverty and lack of education. A country that is so close to Australia and yet has 80% illiteracy is a shocking statistic in the 21st Century.
Although Pol Pot was deposed over 30 years ago his legacy lives on. The country lost a whole generation of doctors, nurses, teachers, small business owners, anyone who had a westernised education, all the people who are the backbone of any civilisation.
In 2008 this group began raising funds to support small village schools around Siem Reap, the tourist town that services the world famous Angkor Wat temple complex. At these free schools the subject taught is English with the aim that students can eventually obtain employment in the hospitality industry. If they are successful they may be the only wage earners in their family.
Seven village schools later we have learnt that, simply, pens, paper and textbooks are not enough. We realised that we needed to:
- support the teachers, many of whom have not finished their tertiary courses
- provide each school with a computer and printer to facilitate everyone’s learning
- pay for electricity
- provide funds for fruit for the children to give them some nutrition and energy for concentration, and
- provide the materials for basic school buildings and toilets.
The group aims to find self sustaining ideas that will assist further development of the schools. The group’s next venture is to fund self-sustaining projects at the schools. It is for all these reasons that we seek your support.
Back home in Australia we are asked – why support overseas people when there are charities here needing our donations for their causes, doesn’t charity begin at home?
Australians are renowned for their willing generosity – the difference here is that all of us have access to social security, good public education, medical and hospital facilities – Cambodians have none of this support.