The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 13

Second last full day in Cambodia 
We woke this morning for a 6:00 breakfast and a 7:00 start for what turned out, for some, to be the most physically trying day in our trip so far. We had the bike ride and tour of the temples today, said good bye to the CKF staff and visited the night market.

We started this morning by eating everything the buffet at the hotel could offer before we headed over to Grasshopper Tours and collected our bikes. The bike tour was estimated to be 37km with stops every 5-15kms. The first stop on the tour was Angkor Wat. This was the biggest set of temples we saw and by far the most breathtaking. It was a huge island surrounded by a man-made moat and covered in temples and forest (a result of the neglect the temples had during the civil war). As a whole the group took probably a billion photos including the main temple reflecting off the water, various group photos and a photo of us in a rather impressive human pyramid. The other two temples, Bayon Temple and Ta Prom Temple, were smaller and fairly similar to Angkor Wat but they were none the less beautiful. The detail put into everything was amazing and although I feel that now I’ve seen the temples, and never need to see them again, I marvel at the builders’ ability to pay such attention to detail and create such wonders without modern technology. 

After finishing the bike ride and immediately jumping into the pool in our Mishcam shirts, in respect for the filthy shirts we are no longer required to wear, we were forced to say goodbye to our amazing CKF leaders; Donna, Sam, Bora and M. We started off the emotional affair with a slideshow made by Sam, filled with good and bad photos of all of us, accompanied to ‘Lean on Me and ‘Man in the Mirror’- two of the most common songs sung by our team. We then exchanged mushy speeches leaving the majority of the girls in tears, myself included. It was so hard saying goodbye to such amazing people and realizing that we are leaving in 2 days, we have said goodbye to our beautiful children and now our beautiful CKF staff- it’s so hard to just stop being involved. After experiencing what we have experienced and meeting who we have met I don’t think there are many of us who do not plan on coming back one day.

For dinner we had incredibly westernized food that caused most of our team to break their vegetarianism. We finished the night back at the night market and most of the team got a fish foot massage and let a whole lot of hungry fish eat the dead skin off of our feet.

I can’t say that I am excited to be leaving Cambodia soon but I am looking forward to being back in Melbourne, see you in two days. 
Bye x

Liz


If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.
DAY 12
Today was the group’s final day in Soksan Village and therefore meant saying our goodbyes to all the children and people we had grown close to over the last few days. The morning began with the packing of bags and cleaning rooms; as well as some of the team helping out a family in the village by renovating their kitchen area. When the team was completely packed and ready to leave, we headed out to the front of the school and began our farewells. It was emotional for everyone; to have to leave behind the strong friendships we’d made. The moment was filled with tears and ‘I love you’s from both the school children and Mishcam team, accompanied by a few promises to one day return and meet again. Exchanges of bracelets, cards and hugs took place until we finally filed into the bus, and wished them all well for the very last time. Thus began our road trip to Siem Reap. While some of the girls lightened the mood with singing and music, other members dozed off in the minivan. We stopped on the way at a roadside market to each try the acquired taste of coconut rice and beans which had been cooked in a bamboo stick. Although not many could truthfully say they loved the snack, we all enjoyed the experience. When we finally arrived at our destination in Siem Reap, the team was impressed by the stunning quality of the hotel. The water features and immaculate tropical landscaping on top of our beautiful pool and rooms were such a shock compared to the quality of life we’d witnessed in the village and truly enhanced our appreciation for it. Following our quick dip in the pool, we headed down the road to dinner. The restaurant, called Cafe Peace, was an all vegetarian cuisine that included burgers and pasta (something we’d all missed) as well as the traditional curries and rices. Meals were quickly devoured in an effort to get to the Night Market.The Night Market was definitely one of the most tourist-friendly places the group had visited, with whole streets lit up by the stores and almost anything imaginable for sale. With a birthday song for Lara and indulgence in ice-cream, massages and excess shopping was the perfect end to such an emotional day for the Mishcam team. Although the day was different for everyone in our team, I can surely say we will always miss and remember our friends in Soksan and that we all appreciate the beauty of Siem Reap. From Chanelle
If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 12


Today was the group’s final day in Soksan Village and therefore meant saying our goodbyes to all the children and people we had grown close to over the last few days. 

The morning began with the packing of bags and cleaning rooms; as well as some of the team helping out a family in the village by renovating their kitchen area. When the team was completely packed and ready to leave, we headed out to the front of the school and began our farewells. It was emotional for everyone; to have to leave behind the strong friendships we’d made. The moment was filled with tears and ‘I love you’s from both the school children and Mishcam team, accompanied by a few promises to one day return and meet again. Exchanges of bracelets, cards and hugs took place until we finally filed into the bus, and wished them all well for the very last time. 

Thus began our road trip to Siem Reap. While some of the girls lightened the mood with singing and music, other members dozed off in the minivan. We stopped on the way at a roadside market to each try the acquired taste of coconut rice and beans which had been cooked in a bamboo stick. Although not many could truthfully say they loved the snack, we all enjoyed the experience. 

When we finally arrived at our destination in Siem Reap, the team was impressed by the stunning quality of the hotel. The water features and immaculate tropical landscaping on top of our beautiful pool and rooms were such a shock compared to the quality of life we’d witnessed in the village and truly enhanced our appreciation for it. Following our quick dip in the pool, we headed down the road to dinner. The restaurant, called Cafe Peace, was an all vegetarian cuisine that included burgers and pasta (something we’d all missed) as well as the traditional curries and rices. Meals were quickly devoured in an effort to get to the Night Market.

The Night Market was definitely one of the most tourist-friendly places the group had visited, with whole streets lit up by the stores and almost anything imaginable for sale. With a birthday song for Lara and indulgence in ice-cream, massages and excess shopping was the perfect end to such an emotional day for the Mishcam team. Although the day was different for everyone in our team, I can surely say we will always miss and remember our friends in Soksan and that we all appreciate the beauty of Siem Reap. 

From Chanelle

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from some of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 11

Day 11 was sadly our last full day in Sok San village. We had a very early start so we could fit as much into the day as possible. In the morning we had a long chat with one of the CKF members (Donna) about how we would best like to help on our last day. This resulted in all of us leaving for the hospital at 8am.The purpose of our trip was to visit the woman who had given birth to the dead child and to visit the mother of new twin girls. On the way there we drove past a balloon bearing tuk tuk and decided we better pull over. We subsequently proceeded to buy almost all the balloons on the tuk tuk and then set back off for the hospital. 

When we got there the two women were shocked but also delighted to have 15 people barge into their room bearing floating gifts. The girls spent a fair bit of time fawning over the new twins and taking as many photos as possible while trying to cuddle them. After they had fawned enough we went to visit the other lady who was wide awake and in a far better physical state than 48 hours previously. She was more than happy to get a group photo with us and then we waved her off as the NGO took her to live in their accommodation. 

I was also asked to write about my (Aidan) experience from yesterday which involved travelling around with some CKF members (Jack and Bora) to pay out some debts that the village people owed. The reason these debts are so serious and get out of hand very quickly is because some people charge interest rates as high as 50% per week… Because of the lack of education most Cambodian people don’t understand the concept of their debt exponentially increasing and get into trouble very quickly. To make these deals the dealers or ‘lone sharks’ make the client sign over their land rights to seal the deal. This means that when they fall behind, which they inevitably will, the lone shark owns all their land and whatever is on it. They effectively own the person and all of their possessions including their families. In extreme cases they can ask for a child and the client or ‘prisoner’ has to hand one over. Hence why it was quite important for us to get into it as soon as possible. Luckily for us the debts hadn’t gone beyond the point where we couldn’t pay them back, but one debt had increased from $25 to $500 or so… Through some bartering and clever guilt tripping we managed to get many of the lone sharks to decrease their prices and give the village people we were helping some reprieve. The whole venture took about 3 hours because in some cases the ladies we were helping had taken loans to pay loans. Ultimately this is one of Cambodians biggest problems, it makes the poor poorer and the rich richer. It’s something that has to be addressed for Cambodia to move forward.

Tonight finished with a massive Cambodian party which would put us Aussies to shame, our ears are still ringing!!! We danced for hours and performed a very sketchy rendition of Two and a Half Men/Lean on Me/ Ba ba bar an/Man in the Mirror/Fix Me /IGS school song and the Sok San village song . It sounds confusing enough writing and it was even more confusing singing it …. We pulled through and the village people were either good actors or couldn’t hear us very well because they gave us a hearty cheer at the end. It was a very late night for us tonight and I’m sure we will all be tired in the morning but it was a great way to end our last day in Sok San  
Aidan

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from some of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.
DAY 10
Day 10 started with the whole crew spending time in the school, doing different activities with all of the kids. A highly popular activity was making friendship bracelets for each other. We, as the teachers, were meant to be the ones teaching them what to do, however we all ended up being taught by the younger children on what to do! We also ran art classes for all of the children in the school. A highlight was working with the 3 year olds playing with play dough, drawing pictures and making shakers. There were also a number of us that helped with M’s music classes. The classes were learning the song “Lean on Me” which could be heard by everyone around the school all day. Sport classes were also held and all students had a so much fun playing the activities run by the MishCam team. 
In the afternoon, I was lucky enough to visit the hospital again with Tessa, Ash and Aidan to visit the women and children we had help the previous day. It was confronting to re-visit the place where we had seen so much pain and suffering. However, it was so great to see that most of the people we had helped were recovering very well and were going to be okay. It was most pleasing to see that the homeless lady who had lost her baby, looked much healthier and happier than the day before. It was even better to find out that another NGO organization had organized accommodation for her and hopefully give her hope for the future and the life that she deserves. From LauraToday I (Tessa), spent my day a bit differently. I began with assisting the nurse at the school’s medical centre. Although the nurse was unable to speak very good English I managed to learn basic skills that I could apply on open wounds and to those who had a fever, headache or nausea. This room was very clean and had all of the crucial and necessary equipment to perform basic first aid-a rise above the OHC and overall care from the town hospitals, a comparison that came as a huge shock to me. Afterwards I made friendship bracelets with a few other girls and students then carried on with the day as stated above. 
From Tessa
If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from some of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 10

Day 10 started with the whole crew spending time in the school, doing different activities with all of the kids. A highly popular activity was making friendship bracelets for each other. We, as the teachers, were meant to be the ones teaching them what to do, however we all ended up being taught by the younger children on what to do! We also ran art classes for all of the children in the school. A highlight was working with the 3 year olds playing with play dough, drawing pictures and making shakers. There were also a number of us that helped with M’s music classes. The classes were learning the song “Lean on Me” which could be heard by everyone around the school all day. Sport classes were also held and all students had a so much fun playing the activities run by the MishCam team. 


In the afternoon, I was lucky enough to visit the hospital again with Tessa, Ash and Aidan to visit the women and children we had help the previous day. It was confronting to re-visit the place where we had seen so much pain and suffering. However, it was so great to see that most of the people we had helped were recovering very well and were going to be okay. It was most pleasing to see that the homeless lady who had lost her baby, looked much healthier and happier than the day before. It was even better to find out that another NGO organization had organized accommodation for her and hopefully give her hope for the future and the life that she deserves. 
From Laura

Today I (Tessa), spent my day a bit differently. I began with assisting the nurse at the school’s medical centre. Although the nurse was unable to speak very good English I managed to learn basic skills that I could apply on open wounds and to those who had a fever, headache or nausea. This room was very clean and had all of the crucial and necessary equipment to perform basic first aid-a rise above the OHC and overall care from the town hospitals, a comparison that came as a huge shock to me. Afterwards I made friendship bracelets with a few other girls and students then carried on with the day as stated above. 

From Tessa

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from two of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 9

Today Laura, Aidan and I (Tessa) visited Khamphong Thom Hospital where we were confronted with something very unexpected. Upon arrival none of us knew what we were in for until we stepped foot into the building. The hospital was dirty, busy and filled with sick people, the majority of them being new mothers. The first patient was a 1 year old boy who had a temperature, nothing compared to the other patients. All he needed was panadol and a wet towel but if we had not been there he would’ve had no help at all. There was a young girl, maybe in her early twenties, who had recently given birth through a traditional Khmer birth ceremony. This tradition involved given birth above a fire in the presence of the oldest woman in the village. After giving birth her blood pressure raised far above the norm leaving the young girl unable to speak, motionless and in pain. With no doctors around and little assistance available to us, we were left to try and do our best to help her. Another mother who had just had twins, had lost a lot of blood and without being given extra blood may have passed away. Thankfully Donna and Sam, two of our leaders, were kind enough to donate their blood to help the mother. By the end of our visit she looked so much healthier and happier. Possibly the most confronting part of day was meeting a 23 year old pregnant woman. Unfortunately the mother’s baby passed away before birth and we were left to help her, even more than the nurses, through the painful and long labor. This lady had no family, no friends, no home. We were her only form of support through such a tough time. It really touched us all and made us realize the change that is needed here. It was a hard day for us three but an amazing experience which allowed us to be exposed to the real problems facing Cambodia. 
From Tessa

After breakfast today I (Ashleigh) joined teacher George to help with teaching. It was really great helping in the classroom and seeing all the children so excited and learning. After the first class I then joined in on M’s sport class, with Lara, Max, Angus and Nick, where the children took part in a mini Olympics. The children did long distance running and long jump as well as several other fun games. After that class I then went into the music class where Liz, Angus, Nick, Max, Aidan and I helped teach the kids the song ‘Lean on Me’. These classes were all really fun and it was especially great seeing the kids so excited in a learning environment. After lunch Liz and I then took 4 art classes where the student made rice shaker cups, masks, flour stress balls and drew on magic paper. It was chaotic but brilliant and there was an amazing sense of accomplishment both for the students and ourselves when we saw the end product. After a relatively busy day I the played frisbee and soccer with the kids which was great fun! Overall it was a great day. 

From Ashleigh

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 8

Day 8 started with another early morning, the boys cabin in particular being rudely awakened by ‘Melbourne Sound’ at 5:45am… >.< The reason behind such an early morning ,however, was so that we could get as much work done on our projects before lunch. 

After the early start the groups had shuffled around slightly. The ‘trio’ was no longer present on the building site and had split off into separate projects. A few people were dispatched to check that everyone had mosquito nets and if they didn’t, to get some for them. Others (Tessa and Helen) began with the second house project which involved fitting some new floorboards and a new roof to the house’s kitchen. A few of us went straight to the laborious task of moving dirt around under another housing project. This task was made especially difficult by the ever increasing heat and no breeze to alleviate it.

I (Aidan) went with ‘Sir Donald’ and Ashleigh to finish of our original house project. Yesterday we finished the second side and rear walls and today we began on the front wall. We fitted a window and the majority of the wall but could not fit the door because the senior builder had gone AWOL…. And with the door weighing close to 200kgs we were not attempting it without him. We left for lunch and won’t find out until tomorrow if our work is finished.

After lunch we all jumped in the SIS tuk tuk bus and headed off to a rather large and very picturesque river. Being almost the hottest part of the day with little cloud cover, the water, although very warm by Melbourne standards, was a welcome relief from the heat. After about half an hour we were joined by the cooks and cleaners and their families, which consisted of many rambunctious young kids. The next few hours were spent playing with the kids in the water and other various games we had either adapted or invented. It was a fantastic way to mark the start of a new week, with 3 full days left in Soksan Village we hope to get a good night’s sleep so we can put our best foot forward and be as much use as possible tomorrow. 

Warm Regards,

Aidan =)

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 7

The masculinity of the boys (or should I say ‘men’) was demonstrated strongly today. The second wall of the house was completed and is nearly finished. The positive morale boosted the great atmosphere at the site. The sun proved a challenge and the measuring of the wood troubled the men at certain times. However, of course these minor difficulties were overcome with ease. Through team work and the unification of ‘the trio’ (Angus, Nicholas and Maximus) , the ‘unit’ (Aidan) and ‘Sir Donald’ (Mr Page-Wood) and the Cambodian builders, success is nearing. I think it is fair to say the men truly nailed that wall today. The work did not stop there though.

Whilst others enjoyed their long deserved sleep in, the day started with the leaders, Don and Helen taking off to the market to buy then cut up some marvelous Cambodian vegetables. The potatoes, onions and other luscious ingredients were concluded in our delicious lunch and dinner. Fried banana was also a treat for the workers of today. 

Another strenuous activity was applying a ‘medicine’ (poison) onto the village people’s mosquito nets. Malaria and dengue fever are common diseases in Cambodia and our goal was to reduce the amount present in the village. Throughout the day each team member was involved in soaking the nets in a liquid (the ‘medicine’) that would stop the mosquitoes. It was a marvelous “solution”. The children of the village were eager to get involved and progress was constant.

The final job of the day was endured by the whole Mishcam team. The group had a common goal to spread out the soil evenly over one of the village lady’s property (building up the land around her house meant that it would no longer flood and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes). Although a strenuous task, again we saw the involvement of the children eager to get involved. The progress was visible and although the ploughing is not completed, the task was successful. We really did “plough” our way through the day. 

Farewell 

Angus McArthur

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 6

A lucky group of three girls (Laura, Liz and Beth) were able to visit the maternity clinic, where expecting mothers in the province come to have their beautiful children born. The clinic called CKF in the morning to tell us that a new born had arrived, so we headed off to go and meet the mother and the child, as well give them some presents to help look after the baby. It was much to our surprise, that when we arrived we found out that another mother was in labor and after talking and meeting the new born that had already arrived, we were all able to witness the birth of a beautiful new born girl. It was an amazing experience and one which we will never forget. We then got to talk to the mother and meet the baby and hear the story behind the family. 

This morning Ruby and I (Ashleigh) were lucky enough to be able to join the ladies of Soksan Village to help prepare lunch and dinner. We woke up early and met the ladies at 6:30 and headed off to the market where we got all the food we needed for the meals. The market was quite chaotic and very different to markets back in Melbourne. After we had got all the fruit and vegetables that we needed we got the tuk tuk back to the Kimyeng Centre where we prepared all the food. The ladies were extremely nice and showed us how to do all the different things. It was an extremely enjoyable morning and hopefully we can remember a few of their tricks of the trade and their yummy recipes. 

Today Maddy, Chanelle and myself (Tessa) ran the first full day of art classes from ages ranging from babies to thirteen year olds. During each class we did activities such as drawing on magic paper, making rice instruments, making masks and doing face paint on the children. They seemed to really enjoy the classes and we’re happy with how they went.

The trio (Angus, Aidan and Nick) continued work on the renovation of the house. Today the labour consisted of the construction of the first wall. We hammered the large planks of timber to the house frame and then waterproofed it by filling the remaining spaces with small planks. We slowly saw the house take its improved form as we got into the grove today. Tomorrow we hope to conclude the rebuilding of the house. Hopefully we will have helped make a great house in which the family can return to without having to worry about being exposed to the weather during the wet season.

From Laura, Ashleigh, Tessa & Nick

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 5

Today was the team’s second day in Soksan Village. Our morning began early with us splitting up into three groups: one to pick flowers from the community garden to take to the hospital, one to build houses and another to design the art program that we’ll be teaching for the remainder of our stay here.

My group was responsible for deciding what art activities the team was going to be participating in, with the children in Soksan International School, during our stay. We brainstormed ideas such as making maracas out of cups and rice, creating masks and even playing with play dough in the baby class. After this we arranged a schedule so that every class in the school would have an opportunity to make something. 

When our plans were finally set, our group rejoined with those who had gone to pick flowers and took the school’s tuk tuk bus into town. We went to visit both the maternity hospital and the regular healthcare hospital. Both were extremely confronting for our group to see: the hospitals were so under-equipped and such a stark contrast to those in Australia, we couldn’t help but be shocked. The maternity hospital lacked essentials such as blankets for the babies, and newborns were weighed in a basket hanging outside instead of the scales seen in our own country. At the general hospital, we met a woman from Soksan Village who, sadly, from lack of access to proper medication had become seriously ill. We gave her the flowers we had picked and some fruits and cakes we had bought and wished her well. 

The appalling conditions in these hospitals definitely impacted everyone in our group. It inspired in us the idea to organise hospital packs specifically for women in the maternity hospital with the money we’d fundraised; which would include things such as a change of clothes for women and a blanket for the babies. 

From Chanelle 

The boys group (the trio), consisting of Angus, Max and Nick, were involved in helping repair a village house. Their mission was to take down three walls consisting of leaves and sticks and replace them with wooden planks. Although this may sound easy, in practice it proved harder than it seemed. Two verandah shades were to be strategically moved before any work could commence. Then involved the removal of the original walls. The house stands two metres off the ground which enhanced the difficulty of this task. However, after careful planning, they succeeded.


The town’s builders and the Mishcam team then divided into two teams. The builders were to construct a frame for the new walls and put in the new windows. Us boys were to build the peaks of the walls. This involved constant measuring and demanding sawing of wooden planks. In the scorching weather, over 18 planks had to be cut twice and eventually we succeeded. Tomorrow we will continue on this project and hopefully complete the house. 
Angus, Max & Nick

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had.

DAY 3

Today was our first day in Soksan Village. We had an early start to the day but luckily we got a goodnights sleep last night after a long trip from Phnom Penh. After waking up at 6 in the morning, the team met up and had a lovely breakfast outside. We then all slopped on our sunscreen, chucked on our hats and filled up our water bottles as we had a big day ahead of us.


Sam took us on a tour around the beautiful village. The sun was beaming and the air was very humid, but it was all very worth it to see the beautiful countryside of Cambodia. We started the tour by meeting the locals. They were all so kind and seeing all their beautiful smiles made my day. As the day went on the group came across all kinds of animals like cows, chickens, dogs and even water buffalo. As we walked along the dusty path we came across the Soksan Community Garden. The garden was full of beautiful plants varying from lemon grass to chili, but the best bit to the garden was the outdoor garden. We then had lunch which was delicious as always.

After lunch we finished the rest of the walk through the village although most of the group were sweaty, sunburnt and thirsty. We met more locals and even got the chance to go into one of the family’s houses. After this we went back to our rooms and had a rest until Donna took us on a tour of the school. She showed us through each classroom explaining what Mission:Cambodia was aiming to teach the kids. In the classrooms we met the kids and even got to engage in activites such as a sing off and celebrity heads.

Once the tour was over we played soccer with the students at the stadium. We were split into three teams and rotated turns depending on who scored point. Although I was not as good as the Cambodians I still got to show off my skills and even got hit by the ball. Although the stadium was yet to be finished it was still fun to socialize with the kids.

Today was a fun and exciting experience although it was still tiring. I’m looking forward to see what the trip unfolds for us.

Maddy xo

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from one of the students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had. 

DAY 3 

Today was our last day in Phnom Penh before heading off to Soksan Village. After breakfast we split into groups to head off to the different markets to buy supplies, with our fundraised money, to take to the village. One group was buying sports equipment, in particular yoga mats to take for the new yoga program that has begun. Another group bought art supplies in preparation for the art class they will be running whilst in Soksan Village. A third group went off to get school supplies for 4 of the children in the village who were in need.

My group was tasked with buying supplies to give to people going into hospital as they often leave in a rush and the hospital doesn’t provide basic necessities like shampoo,conditioner toothbrushes. Ruby, Laura, Mrs Page-Wood and a woman from the house, Socheta, headed off to a local market and spent the morning doing some intense bargaining to get what we wanted. We were all very passionate and all of the shop keepers found us quite funny. After doing some of our own shopping in the Central Market we headed back to CKF House via a supermarket. I don’t think the workers had ever seen 3 girls more excited to see Oreos and Teddy bear biscuits, Ruby left with enough food for a week!

After arriving back at the house we packed our things and said some sad farewells to the CKF House and the friends we had made there. Next it was off on a 4 hour bus ride to our next adventure, Soksan Village. 

It was a great feeling today knowing our hard earned fundraising is going to a good cause and we will be able to help many people with our and your efforts. 
Beth xx

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us email sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more info and don’t forget to check us out on facebook - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation


The following is a journal entry from two students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had. 

DAY 2

Our second day in Cambodia: confronting, interesting and magnificent. We woke for an 8:30 breakfast of cereal and eggs and spreads on toast, we got ready played with the kids and headed out to see the Phnom Penh slums (The Block). Out most energetic Mishcam leader; Em, accompanied us to show us where he used to live and explain to us what had become of his past home.


On the way to the slums Donna (the Mission:Cambodia founder) told the people in my tuk tuk about the pain the demolition of the 1000s of homes, that were destroyed, had caused not only the people being thrown out but also those who could not intervene. She had not been able to do anything and a question that always upset her was; what was she doing when this all happened? Was she sitting at home watching tv and eating a home cooked meal? Could/would she have helped if she was there?It was really interesting to hear this questioning from someone who does so much for other people.

When we arrived at the slums Em walked us through the housing building, which was a four story concrete building, with unlit corridors and cramped looking apartments. We walked to the roof and there Em pointed out where his house used to be and explained to us what had and hadn’t happened. A company had purchased the land and declared that they were going to build a shopping complex and move all of the people to nice new homes. Neither of these things happened and thousands of people were left homeless and jobless after being kicked out of their houses by force. Em told us about his aspirations and the truly marvelous thing was how selfless his dreams were. He said that he didn’t want money although he accepted it’s necessity and he said that all he wanted was peace for himself and the next generation. It was beautiful hearing from someone with a troubled past and not a privileged present to want nothing for himself but everything for future generations.

We said goodbye to Em and Donna, who were staying in the Block to visit Em’s mum, and tuk tuked off to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Because of its part in the Ivanhoe Year 9 humanities course all of the students had an understanding of what happened in Cambodia but this didn’t make seeing the prison any easier. When Pol Pot took control of Cambodia the ‘Toul Svay Prey’ high school was converted into a prison to question and punish those thought to oppose the Khmer Rouge. This place once used for the education of children became S-21, the biggest prison in the Kampuchea Democratic. We saw the actual rooms that people were kept and tortured in, mass detention rooms and individual cells some even with blood stains still in them. It was incredibly difficult to look at these cells where an average sized person would just be able to stand straight and lie flat. We were told later that people were not allowed to clean up the buildings because this would be the same as covering up the truth but seeing the patches of blood on the cell floors was incredibly difficult to look at. In some of the rooms in the four buildings there were displays of who the leaders of the Khmer Rouge were and what has happened to them, who was killed and why and how peope were tortured and killed. The exhibit that I found the most interesting was the room that displayed former guards and other wokers at S-21 and what they thought of the Khmer Rouge and their own actions. The general theme that came across was that although these people thought the Khmer Rouge were bad and should be punished they can not be help accountable for their actions because they had no alternatives other than death. It was really fascinating that the majority of the people interviewed still didn’t accept fault for their actions.

After the Genocide museum we came back to CKF house for lunch and a rest. We all sat around or slept for about an hour then headed back out to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields.

At the killing fields we were all given an individual audio player that gave an audio tour. There were 17 stops on the tour plus extra stories and songs. The tour started by following the process taken by prisoners. We saw the sights where the truck stopped, the prisoners were kept and the officers worked. All these buildings had now been knocked down but seeing the spots and getting a description of what happened made it possible to picture what had happened to thousands of people. After these spots we saw the mass graves, now they are shallow ditches but originally they were up to 5 metres deep. When the Killing Fields were first found the graves were swelled up like blisters from all of the gas being released from the decaying corpses. We then walked around the lake,that was the far boundary of the compound, where we listened to survivors’ stories. The last stops on the tour were the most confronting. We saw 2 more mass graves- one that was for guards that had been suspected of turning against the Khmer Rouge and one for woman and children. We also saw what was known as the magic tree which was used by the guards to play loud music to cover up the screams of the dying and continue to keep people in a state of confusion. Last of all we saw the memorial stupa. The memorial stupa was a temple looking building that inside kept approximately 12000 skeletons of those killed at Choeung Ek. The most haunting bits of the tour were the magic tree and the killing tree. At the magic tree, on the audio tour, a guess of what it would be like played. The music mixed with the noise of a generator which was also used made a kind of noise that made you feel caged in. Standing in the open listening to this noise made me feel slightly claustrophobic so I cannot even imagine what it was like for the people forced to listen to it every night. The killing tree is a tree located next to the women and children mass grave. The is tree, and most likely others like it, was used to kill small children against. Kids would be held by their feet and bashed against the tree until they were dead then thrown into the hole. There is evidence that some of the women were raped.

We left Choeung Ek and headed back to CKF to regroup and prepare ourselves for dancing in the park. Every night groups of people,adults as well as kids, get together and dance in groups in a park in the city. We were only there for about two hours but while we were there everybody danced and we met some cool kids that played soccer with us. After dancing we had dinner in a CKF favourate Chinese restaurant which was delicious, then we came home.

It’s only day two of the trip and everyone is exhausted but craving more. As a group we have managed to break all but 3 of the toilets in the CKF house! We are looking forward to moving to the village for so many reasons including working toilets -can’t wait for tomorrow. Sorry for the essay!
Love Liz

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us in 2013/14 please send an email to sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more information (: x also check out our facebook page - www.facebook.com/cambodiankidsfoundation

The following is a journal entry from two students who are currently on our Mission:Cambodian Volunteer Trip from Ivanhoe Grammar School in Australia. Hopefully this will give an insight into the work involved on the trips and the experiences to be had. 

DAY 1:

Our first day in Cambodia: busy, tiring but a fantastic eye opening experience. We arrived at Melbourne airport at 930pm on Saturday night, excitedly awaiting what was to come. After a long flight to Malaysia, and another shorter flight to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, we stepped off the plane and were immidiately hit with the draining, however welcomed, humidity. As soon as we stepped outside we all immidiately began to sweat.

The tuk tuk ride back to our accomadation was a breathtaking experience and we were all extremely shocked by the culture differences. This included the funky smells, chaotic traffic and overcrowded markets selling a variety of different things from genie pants to DVD’s. We then finally arrived to our destination on Sunday morning: the Cambodian Kids Foundation House. The fantastic peope living there, adults and children, greeted us with open arms and warm hugs.

We quickly settled into our rooms, and hurridly went downstairs to join breakdancing with the young kids! For lunch, we we’re presented with a feast of fantastic Cambodian foods. From vegetarian curries, to fried bananas, to tropical fruits, we thoroughly enjoyed our first experience of Cambodian food.

It was then off to the day spa ‘ONE’, where we were pampered by the beautiful girls who were employed and trained by CKF. These girls have endured hardships in the past with poverty and have been given a chance, by CKF, to become trained working women who will hopefully be able to run their own businesses in the future! In my case (Ruby), I was given an awesome back, shoulders and head massage as well as a deluxe manicure and impressive nail art. It was fantastic!

In my case (Max), whilst the others were being pampered, we we’re given the chance to go around the corner to the markets, where we would present our best haggling efforts in the hope that we’d be able to get some awesome Cambodian items, at the cheapsst prices.

After a day filled with long flights, culture shocks, being pampered and showing off our haggling skills, we finished with a very enjoyable dinner on a boat followed by loud music and crazy dancing!
Love from - Max and Ruby

If you are interested in coming and volunteering with us in 2013/14 please send an email to sam@cambodiankidsfoundation.com for more information (: x

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Please meet the AMAZING Tobin family&#8230;♥
In 2011 CKF received an email from an Australian family that were living and working in Cambodia. They wanted to become involved and give back to the country and the people they had now fallen in love with. I would very much like to thank the Tobin family, Brendan, Sharna, Hayley, Sienna and gorgeous little Bridie. 
Their help and support of CKF has been so invaluable and truly amazing. Thanks for helping us meet and partner with the amazing team at Northbridge International School, thanks for introducing lots and lots of people to our ONE day spa, thanks for coming and helping our teachers with workshops and thanks to the 3 girls for becoming such good friends with all of our kids in Soksan Village and thanks for running more than 200 laps over 24 hours to help raise funds and awareness for CKF. Above all thanks for understanding what CKF is all about and for loving us for it. You guys are so amazing and we look forward to having a long long long friendship with you all. CKF ♥ &#8216;s the Tobin Family!!!!! You can still donate to their 24 hour run!! -https://give.everydayhero.com/au/brendan-tobin-1

Please meet the AMAZING Tobin family…

In 2011 CKF received an email from an Australian family that were living and working in Cambodia. They wanted to become involved and give back to the country and the people they had now fallen in love with. I would very much like to thank the Tobin family, Brendan, Sharna, Hayley, Sienna and gorgeous little Bridie. 


Their help and support of CKF has been so invaluable and truly amazing. Thanks for helping us meet and partner with the amazing team at Northbridge International School, thanks for introducing lots and lots of people to our ONE day spa, thanks for coming and helping our teachers with workshops and thanks to the 3 girls for becoming such good friends with all of our kids in Soksan Village and thanks for running more than 200 laps over 24 hours to help raise funds and awareness for CKF. 

Above all thanks for understanding what CKF is all about and for loving us for it. You guys are so amazing and we look forward to having a long long long friendship with you all. CKF ♥ ‘s the Tobin Family!!!!! You can still donate to their 24 hour run!! -https://give.everydayhero.com/au/brendan-tobin-1