Miriam Saxon - Care & Community in Cambodia
After finally arriving in this amazing country after a long and eventful flight, I was thrown into the busy life of Cambodia. The traffic is on another level and lanes do not exist in this country! But, I could already tell that my time in Cambodia was going to be so exciting and life changing. I soon found this to be true. The people there are so welcoming and so content with what they have.
I spent my first two weeks on this exciting and much rewarding project. Not only the project, but everything else along with it makes you feel so settled yet excited. When I arrived, we were staying in a hotel in which Projects Abroad are familiar with and have created an excellent link with so you are in the safest hands. Our coordinators were so friendly and accommodating as they know it’s a brave decision to come abroad on your own to volunteer. They are so wise and knowledgeable about the country and the culture so you know you were in safe hands.
Care & Community
As the project was a short term project, the days are long and you get a lot packed in to the day but still, each night you went to bed knowing you had given so much to others through the work you had completed. On our project, there were 13 volunteers all 16 to 19 years old; we had a lot in common, even though we came from all different places from around the world! This helped one another settle in and ‘feel at home’.
Our project consisted of care and community meaning we could spend time with the adorable kids aswell as spending time to improve their environments within the kindergarten. We split the two weeks between two centres so we could give twice as much love and joy. We cleared the garden to allow a safer environment for the children as well as creating vegetable patches so that they can grow their own produce for the meals they prepare within the centre.
We were given spare tyres to paint with bright colours which the children then used as toys by rolling them all around the front space. The biggest job we completed in the first centre was painting the exterior wall to create an engaging environment. We taught the kiddies a game called Duck Duck Goose.
The children took a while to get the hang of the game but soon enough they were laughing and having a wonderful time, you couldn’t stop yourself from smiling! We found that the children all wanted to play this each time we returned! At the second centre, we had two big tasks, to paint the whole of a classroom and exterior wall to make the environment stimulating for learning. We painted about child’s rights as this is a key objective for Projects abroad and the Khemera Organisation we were volunteering for.
The rest was more fun and games as we painted different scenes, like an ocean, dessert, forest, mountain as well as numbers and being environmentally friendly. Secondly, we painted the play equipment at the bottom of the centre where the children tend to play each day, in which we did too!
In the time we were not at our placements, Projects Abroad had scheduled in touristy adventures for the entire group. The project is fully supervised so all of the time a member of staff is present. We went to restaurants, traditional shows, weekend trip to Siem Reap and Killing fields and S21. I found this really useful as you had your own tour guide who sorted out the excursions! I also found it nice being in a group going to these tourist places. This part of the trip definitely adds to the whole experience.
At the placements, both the children and teachers were so grateful for all we had given them over the two weeks. They simply would not have the resources to improve their environments or the time or people, so I’m so glad we were able to do this for them. It creates such a rewarding atmosphere.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.