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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