Once a year, our Cambodian team travels to a remote primary school to deliver backpacks filled with school supplies – and hope for a brighter future.
At 7am on 1 August, we gathered at the front of our four-wheel drive parked in front of our offices in Phnom Penh. With hundreds of backpacks packed tightly into the cabin of the car, there wasn’t much room for our 3 staff members to squeeze in.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way! Safely ensconced in the vehicle, we headed off on a 50 km journey that included dodging cows and random carts as we navigated some seriously potholed and rocky tracks on the way to Kampong Speu. After a few hours of exhausting travel – and a few near misses which was fortunate for the cow! – we arrived at our designated primary school. Our weariness was quickly forgotten as we were greeted by a sea of smiling faces!
We arrived ready to provide each child with a backpack filled school supplies, a bar of soap and pamphlet on the benefits of hand-washing. It was a simple hygiene lesson on washing hands after going to the toilet and, importantly, before eating meals. So simple, but a lesson that can make such a difference to a child’s health and wellbeing. Making our way through each classroom, we gave a talk to the enthralled students. We not only spoke about hand-washing, but also looked to inspire each child to stay in school and follow their dreams – all of which can be made possible by grasping the opportunities that an education presents!
It was long and exhausting day, but we were thrilled to have invested in the future of hundreds of students by giving them some of the essential tools to aid their education journey. There were so many smiles and grateful ‘akuns’ (Khmer for ‘thank you’) that we knew our message and encouragement to pursue their dreams had made an impact.
Climbing back into the now empty four-wheel drive, we headed back to Phnom Penh, knowing that we had made a difference. The journey home from the province also gave us the opportunity to reflect on the generosity of the schools and businesses that had made this day possible: