In July this year, Karen Armstrong, UYCH Community College Team leader – Innovation and Development travelled with a group of 14 women to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The trip was a culmination of months of hard work raising funds to help the people of Siem Reap by supporting Husk Cambodia, learning about the Cambodian culture and how we can all benefit from helping each other.
Karen was eager to come up with innovative ideas, one of those being a healthy eating recipe e-book, which saw community members get involved by contributing recipes for the venture. The group discussed a variety of ways to raise funds from organising a 60’s dance night to providing massages. This determination paid off resulting in over $10,000 being raised. This was a huge achievement as it exceeded the amount required to fund the community work that was planned for the trip. Originally they were asked to raise $2,400, so this allowed them to change the scope of the project and distribute the money between three charities that the group visited during their trip.
The largest project they funded was building a home for a young family. This was truly a team effort, the carpenter built the frame and the group helped the family members construct the walls and lay the floor. They also helped make wheelchairs for children and adults who are still being injured as the result of landmines left by the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s.
“I found this to be a very rewarding experience, which was made more so because their previous hut would have been deemed unsafe for them to live in during the monsoon flood season.” Karen Armstrong – Team Leader Innovation and Development
Karen also had the opportunity to visit two local schools. During her visit she was able to get creative by participating in an art project with the children, making paper birds and observing classroom delivery in order for her to gain knowledge from an educational perspective.
While the trip was organised by a local yoga and pilates instructor and had elements of relaxation and meditation, the lasting memories from Karen’s trip came from the charity work that she and the other women had the privilege to partake in.
Not only did this project help the Siem Reap community, Karen was able to utilise what she had learnt from the experience and take it into her own classroom back home. Her Certificate IV in Education Support students were able to use the information in their assessment tasks. This showcased how important these projects are to our local community and abroad. Sharing cultural experiences and making a difference to people’s lives is what serving the community is all about, together we can build a brighter future.
“Spending time getting to know the local community is an experience I will never forget; it has also given me further insight into the needs of our close neighbours.” Karen Armstrong – Team Leader Innovation and Development
If you are interested in building a career in community services the first step is gain a qualification. UYCH Community College offers nationally accredited courses that can help you achieve just that, click here for further information or call 1300 835 235.
To find out more about education volunteer work visit Ponheary Ly Foundation.