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 www.roundsquare.org .

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...

...one 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 www.aminefreeworld.org 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 aminefreeworld@gmail.com or see banyanlearningtree.org 

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:


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