Guest Blog: Visit to Cambodia

This is a guest blog by Pammy Michell and Paul Shevlin who are supporting a school in Cambodia. We will be running a joint fundraising event in Stroud on May 26 2012 – proceeds to be split between my Sri Lankan project and the school in Cambodia.  The event will be a social evening with shared food and dancing to music played by world music DJ Baba Ganoush. Email for details and an invite.

Paul and Pammy write:

In early 2011 we were travelling in the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. Whilst we were warmly received everywhere we went, we were particularly touched by the warmth of the people in Cambodia, who have suffered so profoundly in comparatively recent times at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime.

At Siem Reap near the astonishing historic temple complex of Ankor Wat, we came across a free school run in the evening by a monk, Yorn Chea. He and volunteers were teaching English and other subjects to whoever turned up. The school was just a space with some cover and some rudimentary seating and some desks and a board.

We joined in, helping with vocabulary, pronunciation, conversation. They are very enthusiastic to learn. A boy with no hands and a big smile is amazingly skilful with a pen held between his stumps.

Some of the pupils

Some of the pupils

Sadly, it is very common to see people of all ages with limbs damaged or missing, often resulting from landmine explosions, but also from untreated infections which have turned gangrenous and necessitated amputation.

The school in action

The school in action

Pammy’s son Jack and his friend Peter were also there helping, having a head start with their detailed knowledge of Aston Villa and Arsenal. We were so touched by the tangible sense of hope that the school provides and the difference Yorn Chea is making we decided to continue supporting him on our return. We made checks to ensure things are as honest as they appeared (sadly Cambodia is not without scams aimed at tourists) and we organised some fund-raising activities. Peter has recently (January 2012) returned to Siem Reap and taught at the school for two weeks. Whilst he was there he gave Yorn Chea £400 that we have raised.

Yorn emailed us his thanks:
“Yes sure now the school is bigger and it needs me to have more responsibility of it. This money we have paid it to be salary for four khmer teachers who are teaching at enkosa river school, we already paid some of it for them in this month i will send a copy of each payment to you as soon as possible.
I have four khmer teachers who are teaching here, these teachers we need to pay them of $30 a month for each teacher, $30 X4 =$120.
and this money i will be able to supply about 5 months.
Please keep me update i will let you see about all of my payments, Now i’m running another project about sewing school for village girls in the countryside, now i just got 3 sewing machines and i’m trying to find more sewing machines for this project.
Thank you very much for you both, I bless you best wishes, lucky, happy, healthy, longevity, and success all everything what you wishes all the times.
Yours kindest regard
Yorn Chea” (12 Feb 2012)

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