So it was exciting times as I returned to Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and the slum’s in which Helping Hand works. I had gifts to give to some of the children from their sponsors, gifts that were given to me to bring from Niton Methodist Church Sunday School on the Isle of Wight, clothes that were donated as well as a laptop that is to be shared amongst some of the children we support. Carrying all this from England I was about 7 Kg over my luggage allowance……but fortunately they seemed to turn a blind eye (phew!). Here is just a bit of what I have been up to so far……
It was a pleasure to pass on some small gifts to Pisey and her brother and sister from her sponsor. Both her and her sister were given a letter as well which they both read out in English as soon as they opened them. Their English is so good and they are so keen to learn. They often practice each day by speaking English to each other.
Somonin was given his certificate for most improved child in his class grading last month, improving 17 places. His ambition is to become an architect one day, I am sure he will achieve this. His father is a retired teacher and knows the importance of a good education.
Srey Mey was one of the first children to be sponsored by Helping Hand and is one of the smartest. She made these beautiful paper flowers by herself which are a complete contrast to the environment in which she lives. Her mother works as a cleaner and does not get home until 10.30 at night so she has to look after her younger sister and brother until then; this includes cooking their evening meal. Her father left some years ago.
I am so thankful for the person who donated this laptop. It was given to Srey Poeun but she will share it with others at Helping Hand as I have seen how much a laptop can help the children with their studies. If anyone has a laptop they no longer need please get in touch……
We are so Blessed to have Chanthy Chen working for Helping Hand. She has so much respect from those who know her and the families we help in the slum. Basically she just gets things done and works so hard. Helping Hand would not be in the position it is now to help so many children and families if it were not for her.
So here I am, back in Cambodia for what is my 6th visit. It was in 2012 that I first came out, with my wife and two youngest children, Edward and Lenna, to work as missionaries is this wonderful country. Never did I think that I would still be returning five years later. During this time Helping Hand Cambodia has been established with the main purpose being to enable people to sponsor children from the slums to attend Beltei School and give them the opportunity to move on in life and out of the slums. We also offer a rice sponsorship scheme so people can provide rice for families each month if they wish. Other activities have been provided as well with money donated including a trip to Tamao Zoo for the children sponsored and three each of their friends and a day trip to The Royal Palace and National Museum which was supported by our friends at KATVonline and Comfy Travel. We have also built a house with money donated.On my second day here I met up with Kate who had travelled from Australia to spend just a week in Cambodia. She brought gifts for the children in the slum and we spent the morning walking around the village and meeting the children and their families.
As you can see everyone enjoyed the morning, especially the children. We even found Spinners for sale in the village !
Spinners get everywhere !
It was an absolute pleasure to meet up with this lovely family while travelling around Phnom Penh again. I used to get my coffee from them during my lunch breaks when I was working here about four years ago. They have run “Davy’s Shak” for about four years now serving some of the best Iced Coffee and cold drinks in Phnom Penh. Find them outside The National Museum….We will see what the future holds for Helping Hand but we have to think of what we CAN do and not dwell on what has been achieved. Our aim is to give these children hope……and a future worth living.
The other week Helping Hand held the first of what will hopefully be a series of meetings entitled “Encourage and Inspire”. The idea is to invite guest speakers to share about their own life experiences and tell the children that they CAN follow and achieve their dreams. Channy Leng was the first to be invited and she spoke about her successful clothing business (She makes clothes, bags and other fashion accessories) and how she had achieved this. She is a good example of a successful businesswoman and the children were keen to listen to her.
Thol Sreynin received her certificate for the most improved Helping Hand student in March, moving up 10 places in her class in the last 3 months! She had the pleasure of it being awarded to her by Mam Yoeun the Beltei Deputy Principle.
Unfortunately Chanthy, Helping Hand’s Cambodian coordinator, was involved in a road accident the other day when a 12 year old boy crashed into her on his moto. The boy was unhurt but Chanthy was taken to a clinic and had some stitches put in her chin and has injured her leg. Her moto was badly damaged and has been sold. Please pray for a quick recovery for her.
It was a pleasure to be in Phnom Penh when the latest two children from Helping Hand were enrolled at Beltei School. Sokom was so excited that he cried and Srey Pich ran all the way from the bus she had caught to meet us and get enrolled. Both come from very poor backgrounds and live in a nearby slum village.
This month Helping Hand was pleased to award Srey Mey with a certificate of achievement for being the most improved student last month. This was partly due to her having laptop to use, provided by her sponsors. Helping Hand are currently looking for more laptops so we can help our children help themselves more. On Sunday we gathered all the Helping Hand children and some of their parents together at Beltei School so we could all get to know each other a little bit better. The children were asked to come to the front and share a little about themselves and Chanthy and I explained about Helping Hand and gave them all a chance to ask us any questions about our charity. All but one of the children live in the same village and there is a real sense of community about what we are trying to do….basically it’s just great fun to be with them 🙂 and I am really pleased with their achievements so far but most of all their excellent attitude towards learning.
I have been in Cambodia now for just over two weeks and have managed to keep myself quite busy. Here are a few more things that Helping Hand has been doing…..
Three of our children were given small amounts of money by their sponsors so we took them and some of their family on a shopping trip to one of the main markets in Phnom Penh to treat themselves.
Last week I was introduced to Sokren Sang of Comfytravel and Soknang Rich Chea who runs a Khmer American online company KATVonline. Both of these men helped out with our trip to The Royal Palace and National Museum for our children. Comfytravel were good enough to provide the transport for the trip and KATVonline provided breakfast for everyone followed by lunch at Pizza Company.Each of our children brought with them one friend/family member so there were over 40 of us in all. It was another Grand Day Out and a chance for everyone to have a day away from their own environment which far removed from that of The Royal Palace… KATVonline interviewed some of the children about their trip and they were able to share their thoughts with many Cambodians in America where the TV company operates.
We were greatful to The Royal Palace who charged just $1 for all 40+ of the Cambodians to enter; money saved that can be spent on other things for them.(Foreigners are charged $10…!)
We were also greatful to the landlady who owns the land on which the slum is built. She has allowed us to plant a well and build toilets in the slum village, at present there is no access to free fresh water and there are no toilets in any of the houses….I think she liked her Isle of Wight cookies….
Each month Helping Hand is able to provide rice to 10 families in the village which is paid for by individual sponsors. It may not seem like a lot to some people but it can relate to up to three weeks food for some families..
If anyone would like to find out more about the work of Helping Hand, or are interested in sponsoring a child to go to Beltei school or would like to sponsor a family with rice from just £10 a month, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So here I am back in the country they call “The Kingdom of Wonder” for a four week stay to oversee and help promote the work of Helping Hand Cambodia. I was given a generous donation of clothes ,toys and gifts for the children and families in the slum in which we work in the Chmbar Ampov district in the south of Phnom Penh.
Giving these gifts out was such a blessing and so much fun! The children were very well behaved and disciplined……in the beginning ! There seemed to be something for everyone and none of the children were left out.
Thank you Waitrose 313 Isle of Wight for the packaging 😉
Thank you to those who donated these gifts, it is hard to impress how much they were appreciated.
Earlier this week we met with the Principle of Beltei school which is where the children who are sponsored go to school. It is just 10 minutes away from the slum in which they live yet a world removed from the enviroment in which they are growing up in. He is very supportive of what Helping Hand is doing and is impressed by how well the children are doing and their attitude towards learning.
One of the girls who is sponsored handed us a letter to her sponsor as soon as we arrived in the slum. Her younger sister also wanted to write a letter; again the writing is so good considering how long they have been learning English.
Next week we have more surprises for the children, watch this space……..
As from the start of this year Helping Hand is awarding certificates to the most improved student in their class grading each month. This is just a small acknowledgement of their achievements and encourages all to do well, not just the brightest ones. This month both Ny Chy Ya and Pisey improved 9 places and were each awarded their certificate by Chanthy last week.Both of their parents were happy to see Ny Chy Ya’s and Pisey’s achievements recognised and it is fair to say that of all the sponsored children all but 2 are in the top half of their class grading….only a few have been sponsored to go to school for more than one year and it is so good to see all of the children doing well and trying hard. They really enjoy school and I am sure will enjoy it more if one of them comes first in their class grading….as a cake has been promised for any child who achieves this…
Ny Chy Ya and her proud father
Pisey with her family