Friday, December 14, 2012

Round Square 2012 Student Team - Phnom Penh Highlights and Beginning Construction

The team's first few days in Cambodia as they visit many of Phnom Penh's cultural highlights including Choeung Ek Killing Fields, the Genocide Museum, People Improvement Centre's school and orphanage near the garbage dump, Banyan Learning Tree School, Wat Phnom and a special lunch enjoyed at Friends restaurant which trains Phnom Penh Street youth in the service industry. From here we go to Takeo to start building a Family Care Centre in rural Takeo province. The student team is achieving amazing progress with all columns up by the end of day two of the construction project. 
Day Two - foundation laid and many columns up!


RSIS Students visit Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh
Dancing with Khmer Children at PIO School
At Friends Restaurant - which train Phnom Penh Street Youth
Guided Tour of Camp S-21 Genocide Museum
Posing with Genocide Survivor at Camp S-21 in Phnom Penh

 Many Thanks to Free the Bears ( for our fantastic VIP tour of their Asian Bear rescue centre located at Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue Centre

This  A Mine Free World Foundation ( project is funded and built by Round Square

At the end of week one - Construction of the Banyan Learning Tree Family Care Centre is way ahead of schedule, with walls up and rendering in progress.

Building the columns

Thursday, December 6, 2012

21 International Students From Round Square Arriving in Cambodia to Build!

The excitement has begun as 21 students from around the world arrive in Cambodia on a Round Square International Service trip.

Phnom Penh airport is seeing the arrival of students from the following countries: United Kingdom, Australia, Peru, Canada, South Africa, India Kenya and Germany!         

The students will undertake the construction of a Family Care/Women's Centre in the rural village of Prokeab in Takeo province. This centre will be a valuable resource for the community providing health care education for the rural women, a weaving course, and eventually a sewing program that will result in local women being able to operate their own village-level seamstress shop. A secondary project of the construction of a school playground will also be undertaken by the students.

The students are led under the guidance of leaders Sonia Christian from South Africa and Andrew O'Connell of Australia.   

The student's 22-day service trip will also include several trips to visit the cultural highlights of the country, including the Royal Palace, Toul Sleng and Choeung Ek Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, the famed temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and a special Christmas break on the beaches of Sihanoukville.

Round Square Leader Sonia Christian with 3 arriving Students at Phnom Penh Airport

Last December, a group of Round Square students constructed a small free-education school at the Prokeab Takeo site which they named 'Brighter Beginnings' School. The school now sees over 100 children attending daily. A library building is also on the site. Outreach programs for landmine-affected families are also conducted through the school at Prokeab.

A Mine Free World Foundation would like to extend it's thanks to the students, leaders and all at Round Square for their support towards funding and building these valuable resources for the rural people and children in Takeo.

Keep posted to this blogsite in the ensuing days to watch the progress of construction and the meaningful cultural experiences the students encounter here in Cambodia.
Round Square Student Team 2011 and their 'Brighter Beginnings' School

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tuk Tuk for the Battambang Rotary Women's Centre in Cambodia

I must say that I usually am dealing with bicycle wheels, but it has been quite rewarding for Pauline and I to have been involved in a couple of bigger sets of wheels for quite worthy causes!

A couple of weeks ago, (last posting), a large tuk tuk was purchased for transporting village children to our Banyan Learning Tree School located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The current tuk tuk purchase has me equally excited as it provides valuable transportation for women housed at the Battambang Rotary Club Women's Centre!
Past President Nouv Saroeun of the Battambang Rotary Club and Lisa McCoy of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst

Be sure to watch video at:

From a life of poverty with no chance for future support for her family...
... to a future with education on skill-building capacity..Thyda will be able to provide a sustanabe income for her landmine-survivor father and family.

It was in November, 2011, that the Toronto Rotary Club's 'Sweat Equity' team visited the nearly constructed Battambang Rotary Club's Women's Centre in Cambodia. The Centre officially opened in January 2012 and provides housing, meals and vocational training to impoverished women and women from landmine-affected families. Thanks to the Rotary Clubs of Cobourg and Whitby-Sunrise, District 7070, Ontario, Canada, the centre now can provide transportation for the women - mainly for the purpose of attending their vocational training at their placements in Battambang city center. This new $2,000 tuk tuk was purchased two days ago and can transport up to ten women at a time. The Battambang Women's Centre can accommodate up to 50 women and is seeking sponsorship so more women can benefit from the vocational training and job placement it provides for women. Tuk Tuk project conducted by
You can sponsor a woman from a landmine-affected family at the Battambang Rotary Women's Centre for $1,300.00. Your recipient is provided with a clean room and bathrooms, meals, health care, job placement, transportation and even child care. The woman is provided with one-on-one apprenticeship training at a beauty or Seamstress business in a professional shop for 9 months.As well as sewing skills, the women are taught business skills - marketing and customer service - very important to conduct your own business in the future!
 Once she is completed her course, she can be placed in a shop in Battambang or be provided with all the supplies needed to  start her own business in her village.

The Women's Centre holds up to 50 women - give a rural woman an opportunity at learning a skill that will benefit her whole family.

To donate, please see; Donors are provided with information and a photo of their sponsored woman and regular updates on their progress.

A Mine Free World Foundation Thida works inside her Placement  Seamstress Shop
Thida's room inside the Women's Centre
Thida (left) works inside the shop

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Schools and Tuk Tuks

Pauline Johns and I have just spent our first few weeks in Cambodia and have been down to Takeo province to visit the Banyan Learning Tree school and library in Prokeab village. 

There, we were busy preparing for a team of 21 international students and 3 leaders that will arrive the beginning of December to build the first of two Family Care Centre buildings. The students are coming through the organization Round Square on an international service project .

Last December, a Round Square student team built the 'Brighter Beginnings' school at the Prokeab site. The school presently has 100 students attending the two daily classes. Before and after classes, students visit the 'Calogero and Luke Puma' Library building, funded by Toronto, Ontario donors. There they read books, enjoy crafts and have a story time. 

Bakot village also has a Round Square funded school- 'Happy Gecko' that was built by their adult leadership training team that spent the month of December in Cambodia. Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram and Bridge players from across Ontario, Canada funded the library building there. Their players have raised funds for all the school teacher's salaries and utilities!

Both the adult and student team visited many of Cambodia's tourist sites, including the famed temples of Angkor Wat and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.. After the student team built the school at Prokeab, they enjoyed Christmas on the beaches at Sihanoukville - we'll be doing the same this year!

Along with building the schools, the Round Square teams funded 200 bicycles for needy rural children and sponsored several village-level chicken-rearing businesses.

We are back in Phnom Penh now, where we have spent the past 2 days at the Banyan Learning Tree School here located on the city's outskirts.  It's been pretty exciting there as the school now has children attending who come from nearby rural villages on our newly acquired Tuk Tuk 'School Bus'.
Tuk Tuk 'School Bus'
 There is no opportunity for children to learn English, use a library or receive basic computer training at the remote villages they come from, but here at the school, they can...and it's free. So, of course - there are many children that want to come. One village child tells another village child....

We want to give this opportunity to all these eager village children....we can, but it needs funding...especially for the gasoline. Presently, the teachers are driving the 'school bus' - we REALLY need to hire a driver.

We are also finding that some of these children are coming to school on an empty stomach - in the afternoon! . It would be wonderful to offer them a bowl of rice with meat and vegetables... step at a time :-)
First Day for Eager Village Children
Class of 55 children
Your donation to A Mine Free World Foundation, will help provide the gasoline for our 'bus' and perhaps even the meal-a-day these education-hungry children so need. See to donate online, or by cheque.

All Banyan Learning Tree schools also conduct outreach programs for landmine-affected families. These programs are funded by the Canadian Landmine Foundation and the Rotary Club of Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.

Jan Gough-Watson teaches English at Banyan Learning Tree in Phnom Penh

Special volunteer, Jan Gough-Watson from Australia/Canada arrived here in Phnom Penh two days ago and has been teaching English classes at our Banyan Learning Tree school free education school located on the outskirts of Phnon Penh. Her cousin, Barbara Seagram from Toronto, Patti Lee and Bridge players from across Ontario, Canada raised the funds to build this school, a library in another province and they provide the funds needed to run all three Banyan Learning Tree Schools. The school was funded through the Canadian Landmine Foundation which also supports many of the outreach programs for landmine-affected families in the area. Banyan Learning Tree Schools in Takeo and here in Phnom Penh provide on-site accommodation for volunteers. Volunteers are welcome for a day, a week...or more! To volunteer contact or see 

In a week, Pauline and I will be off to Battambang to meet with Nouv Saroeun of the Battambang Rotary Club. A Mine Free World Foundation extends a big thanks the Rotary Clubs of Cobourg and Whitby Sunrise for sponsoring a valuable tuk tuk for their Rotary Women's Centre. They'll receive the funding for this when we arrive. We'll also be going into the villages with Saroeun to get some much-needed support for landmine survivors there.

Have a look at the new videos posted on the A Mine Free World Foundation You Tube site:

Monday, August 6, 2012


Prokeab Mosquito Net Distribution

Director Om Chamnap Of Banyan Learning Tree Provides a net in Prokeab village 

The 7th Annual July 2012 Giant Garage Sale held in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada raised over $5,150 which provided 850 rural Cambodian families with much-needed family-size mosquito nets. Families in 30 villages in 5 communes received this valuable protection against Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria cases have been on the increase in many countries, with Cambodia having the most drug resistant strain.

Bakot Mosquito net Distribution
Our Team members and volunteers with Banyan Learning Tree in Cambodia organized this massive distribution with Director Om Chamnap and Ban Ven heading the project. To view a report on the project and a full list including every mosquito net recipient, please see: . 

Many Thanks to Everyone who donated, volunteered and supported our Giant Sale. 

Linda Harrison and Lisa McCoy would also like to invite you to attend our next fundraising event for Cambodian schools:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

GIANT GARAGE SALE Proceeds to Provide 850 Mosquito Nets to Rural Families in Cambodia

An arena bursting with donations from all over Muskoka realized over

$5,200.00 being raised for much-needed mosquito nets for rural

Cambodian families.
Kitchen & Appliance Section of Sale
The 7th annual Giant Garage Sale, held at the Gravenhurst Curling Club

on July 7th and 8th was a record-breaker in funds raised due to the

combined efforts of so many - over 30 volunteers, 7 'truckers' who

hauled all the items to the arena, Muskoka Transport who gathered all

the donations from Bracebridge, the Gravenhurst Curling Club and all

those who went out of their way to donate fabulous items.

Organizers Lisa McCoy and Linda Harrison want to thank everyone

invloved - It was hard work.
Len Kurtz and Nina Cole from Toronto
and their Organized Garage Sale 'Book Shop'

Funds raised for A Mine Free World Foundation,

are being sent to Cambodia this coming week. An order for 850

treated family-sized mosquito nets has been placed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On July 26th, families in two rural communes in Takeo province will receive the nets.

Banyan Learning Tree Team members will conduct the distibution.

One net will protect a family of four against Malaria and many other mosquito-borne

Jim & Marlyn Goodwin Work Steady on Cash all Day Saturday
Hard-working Volunteer Joanne Twist Prices Some Items

If you missed this Giant Sale, you can help children in Cambodia by

attending a Spectacular All-day Bridge Event that will be held at the Gravenhurst Seniors Centre on September 27th. North American Bridge Masters Barbara Seagram and Patti Lee will be giving their first Muskoka Bridge Seminar which includes a lunch, door prizes, silent
auction, and much more.

All proceeds to the Canadian Landmine Foundation for rural schools in Cambodia. For more info contact Linda Harrison 705-687-7679 or Lisa McCoy 705-687-8538.

Next posting first week of August 2012, with photos of the mosquito net distribution.

To see photos of the GIANT GARAGE SALE, and to read more, please visit


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Donate To or Volunteer For Our GIANT GARAGE SALE

Many Thanks to Dan Blix of Dan's Graphic Design (705-687-4555) for our annual Garage Sale poster designs!

More Bicycles for Children from Landmine-Affected Families!

March 19, 2012 - A Mine Free World Foundation would like to extend our biggest thanks to everyone on the RBC Toronto Global Banking Diversity Committee for raising funds to provide these 12 students from landmine-affected families in Cambodia with bicycles. This is the second year their committee has supported children in Cambodia with the means by which to get to school!

These twelve children received their bicycles at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Banyan Learning Tree School located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Many thanks to the school's director, Om Chamnap for conducting the distribution.  Click on photo at right to view album.

Many Thanks to Hilma Langman for Providing 2 Bicycles to Children from Landmine-Affected Families 
Many Thanks to Hilma Langman of Langman Bookkeeping in Severn Bridge, Ontario for providing two children from landmine-affected families in Cambodia with bicycles so they can get to school easily, quickly and safely! They also received their bicycles at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Banyan Learning Tree School on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

You can provide a needy child from a landmine-affected family with a bicycle with your donation of $50 to A Mine Free World Foundation . Donations can be made by cheque or through our PayPal portal on our site. Donors receive a photo and info on their sponsored child. Contact for more info.
Banyan Learning Tree Director, Om Chamnap (right)
Gives a Bicycle to a Student who's Father is a Landmine Survivor

Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Banyan Learning Tree Schools and Two Libraries Up and Running in Cambodia!

March 1-25, 2012 - AMFW Update - Three Banyan Learning Tree Schools and Libraries Open in Cambodia

New Photos Added! All THREE SCHOOLS ARE NOW UP AND RUNNING!...Children rode all their Rotary Wheels for Learning, Roundsquare and Toronto Bridge Group Bicycles to attend the 3 new Banyan Learning Tree (BLT) Schools and Libraries this month:

Cambodia 2011 Roundsquare Student Team and Adult Team each funded and built a School at Prokeab. The Ghayoor Family funded the Library at Prokeab.

Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram and their Bridge Groups funded the Library at Bakot and the BLT School in Phnom Penh. They also supplied furnishings towards all three schools and libraries as well as funding the computers at the BLT Phnom Penh School! Patti and Barbara have just arrived in Cambodia for a week's visit to all the schools and libraries.

The Rotary Wheels for Learning 2012Team donated supplies and hundreds of Bicycles for Takeo area children.

Robena Kirton of Gravenhurst sponsored books and shelving along with funds from the Roundsquare Teams. Thanks to Scholastic Books for their donation of books.

The 2010 Giant Garage Sale in Muskoka raised funds for the wells and latrines at both sites in Takeo. see

Your donation to A Mine Free World Foundation will help build a Banyan Learning Tree free-education school in rural Cambodia. Outreach projects for landmine-affected families are conducted from each Banyan Learning Tree School - many thanks to the Canadian Landmine Foundation for funding these outreach projects that provide many landmine surviors with new homes, businesses,  vocational courses and suuport for themselves and their families.

Donations, big or small, can be conveniently made through PayPal at:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cambodian Parent's Unfailing Love - A Family in Need of help

This landmine-affected family has three sons who cannot walk, talk or hear and a daughter that is deaf and mute.

The parents spend their days lovingly caring for these children with NO resources. Thanks to the Canadian Landmine Foundation, they were supplied with all the material to rebuild their new home. They will also receive a bag of rice each month.

Jay and Linda Harrison of Gravenhurst, are supplying a water tank, cow and chickens - a way to make a self-sustainable income and still be able to provide the constant care these children require. These parents spend their days lovingly caring for their children - a business outside of their small village is not a solution.

The first step has been taken - now we will see if anything can be done to improve the quality of the children's lives without taking apart this loving family. Posted by Lisa McCoy, Koas Krala District, Cambodia .

See aminefreeworld on You Tube. Contact to help provide these children with medical help, toys, matts, drawing paper and crayons. We would also like to provide ground-level mobilty devices for the children and special gloves..

Please help us help this family by making a donation of ANY amount at

A Father's Tears of Love for His Deaf & Mute Daughter.