Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

A Day of Fun in Rural Cambodia

We had been in Cambodia for over a week cycling around the Angkor temples, hiking through Cambodia’s countryside and taking in the Mekong by sunset, but it was this day that everyone was most looking forward to. Today was the day we were to visit three schools and meet some of the children who now have access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities because of our support.

Our destination, Damrei Phong commune was just 32km from where we were staying in Kratie Town. Yet the mountainous topography of the area, the poor road conditions and getting bogged meant it took us almost two hours to reach the community.

When we finally arrived at the first school in Damrei Phong we were welcomed by the school committee, teachers and the school principal. After a brief introduction we went to the school library which was built with ChildFund’s support and filled with books for the students to read and study. This is where we got to meet some of the students and joined in their craft activities. They helped us make beautiful origami and we helped them make some very basic paper planes!

We also played a couple of Cambodian games – the slide game and the do-the-opposite game. The children made up the rule that if you lost you had to sing and dance in front of everyone. So, as you can imagine without understanding all of the rules, our team spent a lot of time singing and dancing to the utter enjoyment of all the kids.

The children at this school were quite shy at first but it wasn’t long before they warmed up to this silly group of Aussies! The students also showed us how to wash our hands. They did a great job, making sure to wash between their fingers and under their fingernails. It was great to see the hand-washing facility that we had funded was being used so well.

 

Jen learns craft with the kids

After saying our good byes to the children and meeting a family of eight who had received a household well and latrine through ChildFund’s project, we then got back into the truck to visit the next school. It was just five kilometres away but made for another bumpy journey.

The group had fun playing some outdoor games under a big shady tree with the students at this school.  There was no punishment for losing this time but again we lost because we still hadn`t quite grasped all of their instructions, which the kids found very funny.

While we were playing games at the school, Sue €“ one of our team members €“ had the opportunity to meet her sponsored child. Seven-year-old Rith was a quiet little girl who was accompanied by her mum and dad. Sue, whose been a sponsor with ChildFund Australia for nearly 15 years, loved the experienced and was almost speechless after the encounter €“ which is a rarity for her!

Our final school was much further away. The community was very remote. They had never had a group of westerners visit so we had plenty of inquisitive parents who came to meet us too.

The school was wooden and quite rundown. ChildFund Cambodia is currently working to secure funding to build a new school building for the village. The children at this school warmed to us immediately and we had a lot of fun playing with them. We also pulled up our sleeves and helped some of the community members who were building a new fence for the school.

The whole day was a truly amazing experience that none of us will ever forget. It was incredible to see how the team`s fundraising is making such a big difference in the lives of children and their communities in remote, rural Cambodia.

Thank you to all of our Cambodia Water Challenge participants, who together have raised over $48,000 for Cambodia!

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