Building on our future!

After 1.5 years of waiting, we are finally able to build our new school!

To keep you all up to date on what’s happening with the build, and to share progression pictures and stories, we will be using this blog… so keep an eye out for it, either on Facebook or you can subscribe to receive an email every time we do a new post!

Today we will be sharing a bit of our background story in a nutshell, what has been happening since we received building permission and why your donations are so essential!   

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We have building permission!

New school – The background story..

Helping Hands has always worked very closely with the community in taking steps for the future of the village, and in the past years, the community leaders and parents have consistently identified education as a top priority for the village.

At this point in time, just under 300 students attend Helping Hands daily to receive breakfast, first-aid onsite, play sports, use the library and attend classes for one hour a day.

To be able to give our students their best opportunity at a brighter future through education, school expansion is necessary. More classrooms would mean more space for smaller classes, more teachers and an increase of learning hours – all things that will optimize our students learning and the quality of teaching.

This need for expansion was already identified 1.5 years ago, when we started off making expansion plans for the current site. Unfortunately, this plan was declined by the local authorities who commenced road and dam constructions near the school, which meant we couldn’t expand but ALSO would have to move from the current site.

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Sopheap, Nang, the Village Chief and the previous land-owners

At that point, our search and new challenge started: find another plot of land that we could build a whole new school on, 4 classrooms, a toilet and kitchen block and storage room, with permission from the local authorities.

A few denials for certain pieces of land and a lot of waiting later, finally the sun came out in November of this year; we finally got permission to build!

Our patience has certainly been tested over the last year and a half, but we are immensely grateful to be moving forwards and for all the support we have received from the village and all our other amazing supporters. Special thank-you’s go out to Aline and Brian, who raised funds for the purchase of the new land, and to SAGA Charitable Trust, who gave us a grant for the new school build.

You have all shown magnificent patience and involvement in the past year – a big thank you for your continued faith in us.

Where are we at now?

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Signing the land-title!

With our letter of permission lying on the doorstep, we certainly haven’t been waiting anymore! We’ve been busy bringing everything into process. The land is now officially signed over to Helping Hands and we visited the land (currently still the home of some cows and new grown rice) several times with some villagers, the village chief and constructors to discuss what needs to be done to make the land build-ready.

Another two or three weeks from now, the rice will be harvested and then we can start making everything ready for the actual build to happen! We are very sorry for the cows that will need to move next door, but waiting 1.5 years is a long time.. I’m sure they’ll understand 😉

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One of the current land inhabitants!

We’ve got so much to share with you on our journey, so be sure to keep posted on the progress on this blog!

Why we really need your help! 

As we mentioned previously, we already have a grant for our new classrooms, which we are very very thankful for! But of course there are additional costs  – additional salaries, running costs, developing the garden and sports-field etc. – which still need to be covered. Also since the fall of the Bristish Pound, donations (which are very gratefully received) will not go quite as far as they used to..

Whilst the build is in progress, of course Helping Hands will still have to keep running. To be able to cover all of our running costs for the coming year, and do all these extra things besides the build, we need your help in raising another $10,000 going into the New Year.

Your donation will make sure that we can give all of our students the best shot at changing their own lives for the better, through education.

On the donate page of our website, you can learn more about this current fundraising campaign, information on donating and how far your donation can go.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated since our Campaign started in Mid-December, with every donation we get closer to reaching our goal of $10,000!

Thank you in advance for your help, and a very Happy New Year from us all at Helping Hands! 🙂

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Helping Hands’ longest volunteer ; a hero’s story.

Former Helping Hands student, Yoeuy, is Helping Hands’ longest volunteer and is dedicated to make a difference in his village. This makes him one of Helping Hands’ true heroes and an inspiration to all. Read here his inspiring story..

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Age: 22 years old
Favorite Colour:   Green
Brothers and sisters:   Two brothers, no sisters
Occupation: Student in high school and volunteer librarian and teacher at Helping Hands
Dream: To be a teacher and help my village

 

 

When studying at Helping Hands with Teacher Sopheap, Yoeuy loved learning the English Language and was one of the best in his class.

‘I always loved studying at Helping Hands because I wanted to learn English, and they have resources and give students everything they need for studying. I felt happy and grateful because our village has an English school.’

Yoeuy, age 20 at the time he graduated from Helping Hands, was quietly very curious about the ins and outs of how the school was run, and decided that he didn’t want to stop coming to Helping Hands.

‘One day I graduated at Helping Hands, now 1,5 years ago, and the next day I started volunteering in the library. I haven’t left since.’ 

Everyreceived_10154460777144410 day, Yoeuy travels to Helping Hands after school to work in our little library, keeping it clean and tidy, helping where he can around the school and enjoys spending time with the students and staff.

Living in the village with his parents and two younger brothers, Yoeuy dedicates a lot of time to his education. His parents are farmers and support him wherever they can.

‘My parents plant rice and corn, have pigs, buffaloes and chickens. They give the money that they earn from selling animals to me for my education. I’m very grateful for their support.’

Young and inspiring Yoeuy finds studying important and likes to study. His dream is to become a teacher.

‘I wanted to stay volunteering at Helping Hands because I wanted to see how Helping Hands helps the community and learn more about teaching.’

English Teacher and Project Coordinator, Nang, also saw this hidden talent and dream in quiet Yoeuy.

Having some challenges with one of his own secondary mixed abilities classes, Nang saw a good solution in splitting the class. He approached Yoeuy to take on a teaching role for the lower ability group three days a week. Yoeuy took this opportunity with both hands. 

Nang says: ‘Yoeuy’s English is good and he has great potential.’

With help and support from Teacher Sopheap,Teacher Nang and Project Support Coordinator Sita, Yoeuy dove into the world of being a teacher. Yoeuy shadowed Sopheap and Nang in their classrooms, they supported him doing lesson plans and once Yoeuy started doing the first lessons, Sopheap supported him inside the classroom.

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‘On the first day I had to teach I was very nervous and shy, because it was the first time. But  now I really enjoy talking to the students and helping them learn English.’

 

Every day Yoeuy feels more confident in teaching and the students enjoy his lessons very much. Teacher Sopheap still supports Yoeuy with his lessons and Yoeuy goes to him for help and with questions. Sopheap: ‘Yoeuy was quiet and shy in the beginning, but comes with questions more and more. His teaching gets better every day.’ 

Yoeuy is a great role model for the students at Helping Hands, of how investing in education and being motivated to learn can help you have great opportunities in the future.

‘I don’t want young people in the village to have to work in construction. This is very dangerous and the people have poor working conditions. I wish that more students in our village become teachers in the future, like me, at Helping Hands or the government school.’

With support from Helping Hands, Yoeuy now also follows a Teacher Training for volunteer teachers in Siem Reap, as well as free English classes on the weekends. With these opportunities, Yoeuy can invest in his future and is expanding his skill base in ways he never imagined he could acquire. 

Sita (Project Support Coordinator): ‘Yoeuy is turning into a confident young adult, and I see a bright future for him. He is already a great role model for the students at Helping Hands, and I hope he will apply for a scholarship and shine in a full time teaching role next to Sopheap in a few years. With his dedication to make a difference in the village, Yoeuy is a true inspiration to all. ‘ 

received_989249981110230Mr. Yoeuy (on the left) and the Helping Hands staff team during our staff day at Kulen Mountain.

 

Writing Through for Change

 

Everyone has the ability to express their voice, thoughts, feelings, ideas. But does everyone feel free to do it? IS everyone free to do it? And does everyone know how they are able to do it?

Knowing that you have a voice, that your thoughts and feelings have value and are worth expressing, is that important? Why do you think that?

How does it make us feel when we express our feelings thoughts and ideas? What does it do with us? These are all questions only everyone for them self can answer.

At Helping Hands we believe that everyone is allowed to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas. It can enhance one’s self-esteem and personal development, and everyone does it in his or her own way.

‘Writing Through’, an organization that facilitates creative writing workshops for NGO’s, shares this opinion.

In the past week, twenty Helping

SAM_2681.JPGHands students were able to explore how they can express their own thoughts and feelings through writing.

During a 6 day workshop, facilitated by ‘Writing Through’, the students learnt how to use their ‘magic pencil’ to turn their thoughts and ideas into amazing pieces of writing.

 

The students have been writing about the topic ‘Change’, which, you can imagine, brought up many feelings, thoughts and ideas for the students. How do we change? How does the weather change, the environment? How do feelings change, how do people change, how does time change? These were all questions brought up in the big brainstorm in which the students were encouraged to use the front of their brains to let imagination, feelings, thoughts and ideas on the lose.

And just like that, the students wrote the most beautiful and meaningful poems and stories. Did they believe that they could write amazing things like these before the workshop started?  “Yes”, said some. Some said no. SAM_2684.JPG

The belief that one’s thoughts and feelings have value and are worth expressing is so important for these students, who have so little, but yet have so much.They have so much to give, to share, to say, to express. Through this workshop, they now have found their voice..

 

Change for the Future

A group Poem

Love
Nature
Feeling that we miss mother
When I go to a wedding party
I feel happy
Meet new friends
These all change time

Time goes forward
We lose friends
We get older
We have a family
We have a baby
Times make these happen

Change makes us go from having no job
to having a job
It is good, we like it
But some changes do not make us happy
Getting older
Mother dies
We get lonely

Time and change sometimes make us unhappy
But sometimes happy.

 

The Giant and the Cowboy

A Group Story

Mr. Matt is a cowboy. He takes the cow to the grassland every day. One day he saw the giant in the tree. He looked scary with big eyes and curly dark hair. When the giant saw the cow, he wanted to catch it to eat it. Mr Matt was scared, and he said “Don’t catch my cow, you should make your body small.” Meanwhile, an angel named Kong Kea was watching them. A rabbit, named Mom, was hunting for food. The rabbit and the angel wanted to work together to help Mr. Matt. The rabbit went to gather all the rabbits in the grassland to help. The angel talked to the giant to get more time. She said, “A cow is delicious, but before you eat it, you should do something fun like sing or dance!” The angel started to sing, and he felt happy so he started to dance. He danced until he got tired and wanted to sleep. All the rabbits and many people arrived, and they tied up the sleeping giant with magic string. Mr Matt and the cow now have no problem! They say thank you to everyone.

 

Environment and Happy in the Family

By a Helping Hands student, (17 years old)

Green nature
when there is rain.
We and the nature die if there is no rain.
We should try to plant
to keep our family fresh,
the baby happy.

We need to change the habits,
have green nature,
good environment.
We get healthy,
happiness in the family.

Parents try to work.
Children try to help parents
and go to study.
Make them happy in the family.

 

 

 

Spotlight on scholarships

In this Helping Hands blog we’d like to introduce Mr Lapp, one of our fully-sponsored scholarship students from Helping Hands’ village, moving into his second year in Nursing and Midwifery at a Cambodian university.

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Hello, my name is Lapp, I am 28 years old and I am from Prasat Chas village, 25km outside of Siem Reap town, Cambodia. I am just completing Semester 2, Year 1 in Nursing and Midwifery.

For the last semester I have been on practice in a Siem Reap hospital, 30km from the centre. I am being taught to look for signs of symptoms of sickness. I love this! It is very interesting. I am also learning how to protect people from long-term disease. My favorite area of study when I am in class is Nutrition, I find it very useful. My least favorite is learning about infectious diseases and parasites (pulls a face)!

When I am not studying I try to help in the community. For simple illnesses I can give medicine and advice. There is a lot of sickness in my village, many coughs, flues and stomach problems. If the children are sick I advise the families to go to hospital as soon as possible; disease can be serious for children at this time of year (there is a lot of fever and dengue because of rainy season). I also do farming, raise animals, plant fruits and vegetables and transport goods from the market for wife to sell outside our house.

Mr Lapp with his wife in the community, at his house where he consults on emergency health issues.

Mr Lapp with his wife in the community, at his house where he consults on emergency health issues.

I want to be a nurse to help my community and to grow my own knowledge.”

Please join us in wishing Lapp a great second year of study. Thanks Lapp!

Helping Hands Cambodia provides full university scholarships for deserving candidates from Prasat Chas village in rural Cambodia. The scholarship program is funded entirely by private sponsorship. Lapp’s full course fees, textbooks, exam and transcript costs are covered entirely by sponsorship. We currently sponsor 5 students in higher education and support 7 students in vocational training, ensuring that they have their chosen skills to improve Cambodia and break the cycle of poverty in their community, long-term.

Find out more about our scholarship program by clicking here.