Tuesday 23 June 2015

Cambodia Service Trip June 2015

On Friday 19 June, thirty students and five staff members made the long journey to Cambodia for the annual Service Trip.

On the first day of their journey the group spent the afternoon at Happy Football Cambodia, where the students spent time getting to know some of the children and enjoying a friendly game of soccer. The Ivanhoe group presented donations of kits, boots and soccer balls to the children, which was a perfect way to kick-start the trip. Later that evening, the group boarded a barge for a cruise along the Mekong River, where they witnessed a striking contrast of both extreme poverty and the wealth of Cambodia.

On day two of the Cambodia journey, the group visited the aptly named Killing Fields. The 40 minute ride from the hotel provided an opportunity to prepare for the emotionally taxing ordeal. Under the authoritative and deeply personal guidance of their guide Veasna, the group was taken on a graphic and disturbing tour of some of Cambodia’s most notorious and solemn grounds.

After a trip to the bustling marketplace, the group made their way to the Royal Palace where Veasna relayed stories and facts about life at the Palace.

Day three of their Cambodia journey saw the group set off to one of four primary schools in the Kandall Province. The group was greeted by Soen, who organises the programs for the primary schools and the group was given their first chance at teaching. The group thoroughly enjoyed their time with the local children, teaching them English, singing songs and playing games together.

The group spent their last full day in Phnom Penh working at the Demonstration School sanding and varnishing desks. Originally setting a goal of 50 desks, the group implemented a production line system and managed to finish a total of 100 desks! The group then travelled by tuk-tuk to the Cemetery Village, a slum village built on top of an old cemetery. This eye opening experience gave the group an appreciation of the creature comforts back home.

The next few days of the trip saw the group travel to Siem Reap where they spent time planting trees, teaching English to primary and secondary students and enjoying playing with the local children. The group also made the journey by bike to the famous Ta Prohm, Bayon and Angkor Wat Temples.

On the eighth day the service team began working at the Angkor Kids Centre, about half an hour from Siem Reap. Here the team was introduced to the school’s founder Sam, whose dream is to enable students and teachers to learn and practice speaking English. The belief in Cambodia is that the ability to learn and speak English is often the key to a well-paid job. The AKC has introduced the concept of becoming a self-sufficient school through growing their own produce and rearing animals at the site.

The next few days of the trip was spent travelling to the village of Peak Sneng by bicycles, planning teaching lessons at the junior high school, visiting a local medical centre, taking part in a cooking lesson and teaching students English by way of songs and games as well as learning some Khmer phrases and songs.

Photos from the Cambodia trip can be viewed via our Facebook page.

Click here to read more about the School’s Service Trips.