In our last news article, we announced that members of the Professional Advantage team would be travelling to Cambodia as part of a volunteer expedition. If you missed that article, you can refresh your memory here.
Since the trip, one of the hard-working volunteers has offered a brief recount of the trip and some of the milestones reached.
Words from one of the volunteers:
We are back and have had a few days to recover and reflect on what was an amazing experience.
Our team of 18 from Professional Advantage achieved some goals that no other team has yet managed with the RAW (Raising Awareness Worldwide) team, including completing a house build in 4 days and planting 211 bamboo plants at the Sustain Farm, which was a real achievement. In addition to funding the house we built, the donations to a combined fund-raising effort also assisted RAW in having enough funds to:
- Build an additional house.
- Provide 2 toilets.
- Build a community centre at the village.
- Fund additional groundwork to keep the inland lake out when the rainy season starts.
- Purchase irrigation equipment and pumps for the bamboo farm.
- Fund ongoing social work activities.
- Fund additional teacher training: 5 sessions for 100 teachers.
- Purchase a generator for the main office of RAW so they have continuous power. Previously power is cut by up to half of every work day limiting productivity.
Whilst the above fundraising outcomes are significant in ensuring RAW can continue to grow their capacity and ability to deliver on their goal of providing 120 houses for those in critical need, the most powerful moment to come out of the trip was when we handed over the house to the family who had helped us in the build, and they shared their story.
The father had lost his job with a local fisherman, so in order to provide for his family, he strapped a barrel to his back so he could float down the river catching fish. This enabled him to earn enough to buy a boat which his family then lived on. These small boats have low sides which made them unsafe for children. At night, the parents tied string around the ankles of the children so that when they fell asleep and rolled off the side in to the water, the parents would be able to locate them and pull them back onto the boat.
As a consequence, the parents found it difficult to get any sleep as they were worried about the welfare of the children.
The impact on all of us as the mother shared their story via an interpreter was immense and one I will never forget. The bamboo house suddenly looked as good as any mansion you would see back here in Australia due to the impact this will have on the life of this family going forward.
Thank you to all who supported and assisted RAW in living out their two key goals of 'Giving a Hand Up not a Hand Out' and 'Every Piece Matters'.
Along with their sun-cream, hats, bug spray, and cool clothing, the PA team also brought with them 5 laptops for the RAW Impact team in Phnom Penh to use.
After their return, the team were thrilled to receive the below photograph showing some members of the RAW team with their new devices.
Once again, thank you to all who assisted towards and on this expedition. If you would like to know more about RAW Impact visit www.rawimpact.org