Smiles In Cambodia
An award from the Trust enabled Laura Davies to take part in a volunteer teaching programme at a school in Cambodia.
Laura spent three months in Cambodia working in a school built for children from a slum village. The children who attended the school could not afford to attend the state school as, in the state school, the children's parents still had to pay for school uniform, pay the teacher extra money and for extras such as payments for attending sports days. The parents of the children earned less than $1 a day and many were single parents through problems with alcohol and drugs. By attending the volunteer school the children received a free education and also received a monthly rice donation for their families.
Teaching English to the youngest students, Laura was faced with classes averaging 40 pupils. The school was built in 2006 and, with limited funds available, the school had few English course materials for the teachers. Laura was able to assist the teachers at the school by drawing up lesson plans, and creating whole lesson plans for use by future volunteers.
"The time that I had in Cambodia was amazing," said Laura "The staff and children were extremely welcoming and showed me a great amount of affection."
The contrast between her own upbringing and those of her young pupils was keenly felt by Laura. "The conditions that some of the children lived in made me realize how much I have been given as a child and how lucky I have been."
Laura hopes to return as a qualified teacher to help set up a curriculum that the school can manage and implement at relatively low cost.
The Trust's award to Laura enable her not only to participate in the volunteer programme but also buy things for the school that they urgently required and things that would help them in the future.