November 27, 2014

Cambodia – World of Difference

I was fortunate to spend an incredible twelve days with six VCAL students in Cambodia on the World of Difference humanitarian tour. After nearly 12 months of planning and fundraising our efforts were met with a memorable and insightful experience into the impact of war on this fragile country and the strength, humility and genuine nature of its people. We were welcomed into villages, schools and orphanages, visited the ancient temples of Angkor, learnt about the atrocities of the Pol Pot regime at S-21 Prison museum and the Killing Fields, and shared a close-up morning with a collection of protected South-East Asian animal species. Our students created lessons to teach in classes and had to overcome distinct language barriers to interact with the Cambodian children. They persevered in heat and humidity to construct wells to provide access to clean water for poor families. They chased piglets around a pen to donate breeding pairs to families so they could make an income and improve their standard of living. Congratulations and thank you to Niyati Kumar, Celest Harris-Bazil and Tristan McKenna of Year 12, and to Mitchell McKellar, Lawrence Sneddon and Heather Murray of Year 11, who stepped outside their comfort zone, took on every challenge presented to them and were excellent ambassadors for our College. One of our students in her thank you note to our local guide Rithy Ann, wrote: “You have been such an inspiration to me and what I want to achieve in life…thank you for opening my eyes to another aspect of this world. You’ve made me see that one person can make a positive impact on a community through hard work and dedication.” Another said, “Thank you for helping me to understand more about the world we live in. Your people have changed the way I think about all aspects of my life. I will never take my education for granted again. I’ve realised that education is a privilege millions of children are deprived of. You give me so much hope and make me dream of change”. What a life-changing opportunity this has been for our students.

Shelley Muir, Director of Senior School.