The July school holidays marked the third Pembroke Mission to Cambodia. Leading up to the trip a number of fundraising events including casual days, food stalls, movie nights and ‘Cabaret for Cambodia’ were generously supported by the Pembroke community.
The primary focus of our trip was to renovate one of the Khemara schools, Tuol Piseth Primary School, which is about 3 hours out of the capital city Phnom Penh. Many of the 250 students who attend the school are the children of poor rubber farmers. The school had been so dirty and run down that many of the children had been working alongside their parents rather than attending lessons.
To create an inviting learning environment we spent our time cleaning and painting three of the classrooms, the exterior of the building and the toilets, as well as painting murals. It was incredibly challenging work in the intense heat. Our main project was renovating the library, including making reading corners for the kids. Pembroke’s donations were also used for tradesmen to complete works such as laying new floors, replacing doors, tiling, putting in new sinks and toilets, and replacing the electrical wiring. We installed new whiteboards and have also ordered new desks for the classrooms. Prior to our visit we purchased supplies including books, teaching materials and sporting equipment. Our students also did some teaching with the local students.
Donations were also used to purchase backpacks for every student in the school. Inside each bag were a toothbrush and toothpaste, books, a pencil case with equipment inside and a stuffed koala. The students were incredibly grateful and excited to receive these bags. It was very humbling to see them so excited about items that we take for granted.
While we were at the school Ms Cowland from the Junior School did a placement with our Education Program at Home of Hope. Ms Davis and Ms Reynolds also had the opportunity to visit Home of Hope and check on the progress of our programs there as well as visit the boys who are so special to our community. They were happy to see the Physio Room being put to good use, and the garden that the students planted on the last trip still thriving.
It was a rewarding and successful trip for the staff and students involved. We are very appreciative of the wonderful support given to Tuol Piseth Primary School by the Pembroke community.