How to manage and balance while we teach the children? This is the question from some of our new volunteers and there are more questions from them. Therefore, we conducted a Teaching Workshop on 18th Oct 2010 at Projects Abroad office.
In the workshop there were four volunteers and a Director from Vocational and Development Training Organization who had experience in teaching and can share ideas related to volunteers’ questions.
We started by introducing ourselves to each other; then we asked volunteers to say their expectation from this workshop. Next we discussed the questions and providing strategies to teach. In addition, we also mentioned some useful word in Khmer Language so as them to say to children while they will teach. Moreover, we also rose up some activities game and providing extra materials which are useful for doing their project.
We hope next time; we will have more participants and hope that this Teaching Workshop helped them to work in their projects more effectively.
As it is the rainy reason in Cambodia, some placements were always flooded by the rain. Because of the reason, recently, one of our partner Children and Poor Communities Development Organization (CPCDO), has decided to change the location.
The new location is house number 210, street 42P, Phnom Penh. It is not far from the old location, just around 1 kilometer from the old one. The new placement is good, no flooding, and quite bigger. As they have just moved, there are a lot of things which need to be arrange, such as the class for teaching, bedrooms for little baby and nanny, bedrooms for children and also the office.
Two of volunteer who is working there are happy to work and take care of the children. Totally there are 55 children at there.
Let me say the word thank you to
Annelou Traas, Clare Stone, Desiree Koel, Fiona Bonet, Greg Duke, Jacquelyn Morey, Joyce Duke, Lissa Churchward, Marijke van Leeuwen, Megan Moffatt, Pauliene Jacobs, Stephane Bernard Schneider, Suzanne Borchert. I really appreciate for your help and time.
On Sunday 17th Oct 2010, there were 13 volunteers who eagered to help Dirty Weekend activities. We did it at Vulnerable Children Assistance Organisation, we did the same activities as previous month, cleaning and making concreted fences at the placement. However, as we had more participants we were able to do that quickly. Without raining, it would be completely done by our volunteers. But It was raining in the afternoon so we needed to stop and wait around 1 hours until the rain stoped dropping down.
Everybody felt so tired, but by looking to the fence that we just made they still keep smiling to each other.
At last, we took a picture in with the background was the fence that we just created.
Thank you so much everyone for your hard work. We really made a change for the children.
Madeleine Sandstrom and Harriet Mortlock are our care volunteers who took part with us for 3 months have celebrated a small party with their children at the VDTO placement this evening. The children really appreciate what they have done for them that included the way of their smiling; taking care of the them and providing a English class to them from Monday to Friday if there is not a holiday. For Madeleine and Harriet, they also had a good time with the children and get a great experience while doing their project in Cambodia with the children.
There is always the end, so even a big or small party, they still need to say Good Bye (in Khmer language ‘’Lea Houy’’) to each other, Guess if the children cry, both of our volunteers may also cry, as the roof of good memories always stay last long in their mind.
Still, even they have finished the project but they still have two weeks for travelling in Cambodia. And one day before leaving Cambodia, they will come to say good bye to our volunteers and staff.
girl was staying at her orphanage and she has met with an accident on Saturday last week with her younger sister. Her younger sister is under 15 year old.Here we have a national hospital and it is free of charge for the children who are under 15. Sadly, because her parents have not enough financial support to the medical treatment, decided to take her older daughter at home.
Luckily, as Lissa was there, she was keen to help the girl to be cure at the hospital. She contacted her friend and family who are in UK to collect money and sent to her soon. Then she got the responsibility for all the medical treatment until the girl will be back to normal.
The name of the girl who met with an accident is Sopheak, she is a smart and hard studying student, so lovely. I wish her to get well soon.
Thanks so much for Lissa Churchward for her generosity and kindness.
Last week from 7th to 10th Oct 2010 was the public holiday in Cambodia. It was a good chance for us to have a trip to Compote - Rabbit Island. We all in group of 8 people agreed to visit the island on 7th , unfortunately, the bus tickets were not available on 7th because there were a lot of travelers. Therefore, we decided to go on 8th; the bus left at 9:30am and everybody was ready to leave. Bus was slow and we spent around 4 hours to reach Compote and half an hour from Compote to the Rabbit Island. Emotionally, we all were stunned by the great view of the island, it is so beautiful.
After arriving, we dropped our bags in a bungalow and went to swim and had meals all together. At night as it was a birthday of one of our volunteer s, we used a small firework and designed the sand and wished a happy birthday to her and played some games after that.
On the second day, we ecided to take an exciting adventure by walking around the island, it took 3 hours but it was very adventure and the first time that we did it.
In the morning of the third day, after having breakfast we were ready to return back to Phnom Penh. However, we could not leave because of the small storm which was nearby the island. So we were stucked by the storm and had to stay another night. On the night, as it was windy and raining, we could not go to swim or walk around. We were just sitting in the bungalow and chatting until feel sleepy.
In the morning, we rushed to get off from the island and there were a lot of people leaving at the same time as they felt afraid that the storm would be strong again if we left late. Then, we got a taxi to directly return to Phnom Penh – Our apartment.
In short, this was a great, enjoyable and adventure experience that we never had.
As it is a special festival (Pchum Ben) in Cambodia, some volunteers, staff, cook had gone to temple to offer the sticky rice and drink to ghost. Pchum Ben festival is always celebrated within fifteen days and we do it every year in the 10th month of Khmer calendar. It is believed that during this period, our ancestor spirit who dead will come out and looking for recieving the food, rice and drink and so on. So everyone has to go to pagoda at least once within fifteen days. There are two times to go to temple or pagoda, one in the early morning at around 3:30 and the other one is from 6am to 10:30am.
In the early morning at 3:30am, we go to temple to offer the food to the spirit ghost who is in deep sin. It is believed that if we offered the food to those ghosts after 6:00am(day time)those ghost swill not be able to get the food because they are in deep sin and they scare of the sun shine. And when we offer the sticky rice and water, we just throw it in the specific place in temple surrounding, we do not offer it to the monk. However, before we throw those, the monks has sermon around 1 hour. Then, the people are allowed to throw those foods to the ghost.
The other time we go to pagoda from 6:00am to 10:30am, during this time we offer the food to monk, and the monks will sermon to transfer those foods to the ancestor spirit who do not in deep sin.
Our volunteers and staff went to temple in the mormning of 3:30am, and our volunteer felt so sleepy and they felt eager to know what we do at the temple during this time. They felt really good after going to the temple.
Thanks for your time everyone.
I hope next year we can go with the other volunteers.
Enjoy holiday for all:-).
I decided to embark on my trip to Cambodia as I thought volunteering would be a fun way to experience a new place, give something back to the people and make new friends. I wasn’t disappointed with any of my trip and would strongly advise anyone considering volunteering with Projects Abroad to definitely jump in and enjoy your memorable experience, surrounded by friendly and supportive staff at each step!
The night before my departure my friend phoned in a slight panic to confirm that she had everything that she needed for the trip and we were ready for our trip. However, on our way to the airport I discovered that she had in fact lost her Cambodia book, not brought a raincoat or any waterproof shoes. Not the best preparation as we were heading to Cambodia in monsoon season for one month!! It could only get better from there…
We arrived very tired at Phnom Penh airport and were greeted by the friendly face of Chamroeun who ushered us into a lovely air-conditioned car, which was welcomed as the temperature was already 31°C at 10am in the morning! After being shown our apartment and room we were left to unwind and settle in. The following morning we made ourselves a breakfast of coconut bread and jam and were collected for our induction of the city and our placement.
The induction was given by a very energetic and bubbly member of the Projects Abroad staff called Sophan who answered all of our questions about life in our new home and gave us background on Cambodian culture. This was followed by our first proper look at Phnom Penh and Cambodia, whizzing along the streets in a tuk tuk for a guided tour of the highlights of the city. However, by the end of the tour I was still lost and hoping that the map and phone numbers of all the staff would come in handy when we had to venture out alone!
Later on that day we met the Director of the Cambodian Projects Abroad, who was extremely friendly and keen to hear if we were settling in alright. We then headed to our placement which was called Riverkids, run by Mr Sophon who explained to us that the aim of the project was to help vulnerable children from the slum areas of Phnom Penh return to education so that they could hopefully re-enter state education and potentially higher education, breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy and improving life for their whole family.
Riverkids aimed to do this by providing support to the women in the families by way of training them in a skill such as sewing, waitressing or jewellery making so that they could gain employment allowing the children in the family to attend school. All of the families helped by Riverkids were classed as vulnerable which meant that the children would be at risk of trafficking, violence or drug abuse in the home. Riverkids had a team of social workers and a nurse who would go out to the homes of the families living within the slums and assess their situation and provide medical care and food. The families would then be encouraged to join in the scheme at Riverkids to ensure that their children would begin to get an education.
As my background is science I was told that my placement would be to help with the micro business aspect of Riverkids in the morning and to teach English to the children in the afternoon. My friend who has a social care background was asked to help out the social workers, giving advice on how to update their assessment forms and how to perform suitable assessments of the families living in the slums. My friend was also keen to work with the children so as a result we taught the children together in the afternoons.
First day of placement! We were excited and a little bit nervous; we were collected in the morning by our friendly and reliable tuk tuk driver named Kimhay who took us off to the office where I met the friendly girls who I would spend most of my time with named Sinoy and Pheakadey.
They were really helpful and welcoming and gave me background into how the micro-business worked. I then got started on helping to write a funding proposal for a new project for 5 women from the slums to start their own push cart business selling fruits, pastries and drinks. As the placement went on I also helped to write a budget for funding that had already been received and drew up an action plan for our proposed micro-business project.
At 11am each day we would be collected by Kimhay and have lunch back at the Projects Abroad apartments with the other volunteers. This was a great way to get to know everyone and find out what they had been doing at their placements and share ideas on things to teach the children and places to visit at the weekends.
Each day we would return to our placement from 13:30 until 16:30 when we would be teaching the children in a library lesson, computing class and English class. We were not accompanied by a teacher during our lessons which at first was very daunting. We also had to find the books from a bookstore and make worksheets for the children as the school was not equipped with all of the resources that were required, but we found that drawing pictures, writing postcards and doing funny actions in class always went down well and helped their understanding! Before I left for Cambodia I picked up travel Guess Who and Baby Animals Top Trumps games which they enjoyed playing with and was a useful learning aid for the children. They also liked to do wordsearches which we made to cover some of the vocab that we had learnt in class and play Hangman and Bingo on play day Fridays!
At the end of the day we would head back to the apartments and have a tasty Khmer meal at 7pm which was prepared for us by our friendly house Mum named Rath. Each apartment has a house Mum who also keeps the apartment and rooms tidy and they are always singing and laughing and will prepare food requests for you if you would like something specific to eat.
In the evenings we would sometimes watch a DVD or go to the local shopping centre for delicious ice-cream.
There was also a very friendly guest house that everyone would go to near lakeside to use the internet and unwind and a pub quiz was held near lakeside on Thursday nights!
The weekends were our free time when we tried to do as much site seeing as possible! We found it very easy to organise trips and we always had other friends who were keen to come along too! Our first trip was to Sihanoukville (the beach) and then Siem Reap where the beautiful temple of Angkor Wat is situated along with many others. There were also many things to see in Phnom Penh including the tragic killing fields and S-21 prison but also the Royal Palace, many temples and markets where you could spend hours and most of your money on brightly coloured scarves, dresses and gifts for all of your family!
All in all we had a really brilliant trip, we made some great friends, and life long memories and the opportunity to work with the Cambodian people and the children is one of the most rewarding experiences that my friend and I have had. If I have any regrets it is that we could not stay for longer and travel around Cambodia seeing more of the hidden treasures and meeting more of the friendly local people…hopefully next time!
Yesterday I had an email from friend enquiring about my experiences in Cambodia and recommendations for her imminent Cambodia trip. I was in a bit of a rush and planned a very brief reply…I was not prepared for the flood of memories this email triggered and I realized how much I still missed this beautiful country and its amazing people. I also went on a mental journey remembering the amazing times I had with the volunteers and staff from projects abroad. Summarizing a trip like this in words is so hard…My reply to my friend was by no means brief and I thought it could prove useful to future volunteers. It read something like this …
Working at the NBC was an experience I will never forget and I am hoping to return soon. I was doing the physiotherapy placement, which I found very challenging at first. The language barrier made it hard to communicate with my little patients but then one finds ways of overcoming these problems and the work is so rewarding! The local physios were very helpful and I quickly learnt the Khmer words for body parts and activities. The placement involved manual treatment and encouraging exercises which helped the children achieve crucial development benchmarks such as sitting crawling walking and communicating. I underestimated how attached one can get to these children and still miss them terribly.
Motos: I remember my first moto ride to riverside. It was dark and the streets looked so beautiful in the mild streetlights. The speed of the moto created a welcome breeze I loved the organized chaos of Phnom Penh traffic and seeing entire families perched onto one moto and other bizarre violations of traffic rules as we know them. And yet, only days later this becomes the norm and you forget you really meant to take a picture of it. It’s amazing how fast one acclimatizes.
(In fact, after two weeks I succumbed to the urge to ride my own moto, so I hired motos a few times to ride in the city and out to the countryside. I would highly recommend this to anyone. It’s risky but so worth it!)
Out in town:
Riverside…what can I say, many many good nights with my lovely fellow volunteers and projects abroad staff. What a great place for food, cocktails and private cinemas.
Lakeside…well everyone should visit Happy Guesthouse at least once, a staple for all volunteers and a truly beautiful place at night.
BKK… Nice restaurants and a few nice afternoons by the pool at the Pavilion hotel.
Not a big fan of shopping I must admit but the Russian and Central market were quite interesting. Phnom Penh has great little handicraft boutiques too which sell beautiful local products…such as the silk cushions I brought back home, their unique patterns and colour reminds me every day of the beautiful colours of Cambodia.
We had the most amazing cook in our apartment, a big big thank you again to Rath!!! Other favourite eats in Phnom Penh included Friends Restaurant, Frizz, Dosa Corner…the list is endless. I loved street food from the market stalls close to our placement. Try Karem (khmer ice cream)!
Places to see:
I loved aimlessly wondering around Phnom Penh and just taking in the many facets of this city. Specific places worth seeing include the S-21 and the Killing fields. It makes for an overwhelming and sad experience but is an intrinsic part of Cambodian history. I am amazed and inspired to see how the people of this country have dealt with their sad past and have such a positive attitude to live.
A must for every Cambodia trip, the ruins of Angkor are truly impressive! I really enjoyed hiring a bike for a dollar and seeing the main temples at my own pace.
The town itself is also worth exploring but can be seen on foot in a day. I enjoyed my visit to Kantha Bopha, a childrens hospital, which has a performance and a film every Friday and Saturday night.
We had a great time on the Bamboo train, a mad little contraption of bamboo sticks on rails going quite fast down a bumpy set of tracks!
The Killing caves were also breathtaking, so was Phnom Banan, which we visited by Moto. Battambang is Cambodias’ orchard and has some great fruit to offer.
This was one of the best trips I had in Cambodia, even though I actually felt pretty seasick on the elephant ride. But the ride is fun and the jungle is beautiful.
(Visit Bananas! a little restaurant with a very interesting and eccentric hostess)
Not convinced by the beaches but it is a nice break from the city and it was another good weekend spent in the company of amazing fellow volunteers. The visit to the snake pit, a bizarre Russian restaurant and zoo, was a highlight.
There are so many stories, so many memories I can think of but some experiences just can’t be put in words. I just want to say thank you to all the volunteers who made my stay special and to the projects abroad staff who I count among my friends now.
I’m wishing all the current and future volunteers a great time; I wish I was there now myself!!!
Heidi Blum, Physiotherapy placement
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