Cambodian school trip a lesson in philanthropy


Bega High teacher Cheryl Atkinson, and students Rhys Davies and Annie Fitzer show off the two paintings they are raffling for organisations in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Bega High teacher Cheryl Atkinson, and students Rhys Davies and Annie Fitzer show off the two paintings they are raffling for organisations in Cambodia and Vietnam.

THIS year, Bega High School will be running its sixth and longest trip to South-East Asia yet.

From September 19 to October 6, eight teachers and community members will be going to Cambodia and Vietnam with 18 Year 10 and 11 students, including Annie Fitzer and Rhys Davies.

Annie was looking forward to visiting Get Set Go, a women’s library in Siem Reap for women considered too old for the education system who run lessons in villages – to which the school group will be donating $2000.

“I think we get caught up thinking that everyone lives the same way as we do, when in reality it can be a lot different,” Annie said.

“So I think the trip will give us a little more perspective.”

Rhys is a young street performer, known for tricks such as juggling chainsaws, and so one of the main parts of the trip he is looking forward to is visiting the Phare Circus in Cambodia, a non-government organisation (NGO) set up by artisans who survived the Killing Fields.

“I’m looking forward to [the Phare Circus] and entertaining kids over there,” Rhys said.

“I think going overseas, travelling and doing stuff with young people is quite appealing.” 

As of Wednesday $22,000 had been raised towards the target of $25,000, none of which goes towards the students travelling expense, but instead to NGOs. 

In Siem Reap, the group will be visiting and donating to several places, including $4500 to About Asia Schools to fund sustainable gardens, walls, and flood-proof a playground, and $2000 to the Cambodian Landmine Museum.

In Phnom Penh, $4500 will be given to the Cambodian Children’s Fund assisting a law student through university they have previously sponsored, and sponsoring a new student.

The group will also help Global Village Housing build two flat-pack houses with money from the Robin Hood Service Club.

Over in Hoi An, Vietnam, the students will relax at a lantern school, which works with disabled kids, and do lessons in basket weaving and lantern making.

Fundraising hasn’t finished yet, with a Crazy for Cambodia day at school on Friday, and holding a market stall at Friday’s SCPA Markets, as well as other local markets selling home-made items such as quilts, cards, aprons and bags.

Colleen Dixon has donated two paintings to be raffled and tickets can be bought from the participating students, the school’s front desk and at the markets.

In the second last week of term, the students will hold a morning tea to say thank you to all the organisations who donated to them.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop