Having been brought up in England and Spain, I totally know how speaking two languages, English and Spanish, has helped me, especially travelling the world.
Being a sporty type I wanted to get involved in exercise and the well-being of the kids. Simple exercises to be done and kept up will help in physical fitness and agility. Games and play are an important part of Samrong and putting fun into it goes a long way.
I know Sam (Papa to the kids) wants to develop an area for all weather sports and with his admirable eagerness and determination to help his children, it will happen.
I really felt a sense of family here. Some of these children come from backgrounds we would not wish upon anyone but they just get on with their lives, a single smile from any particular child makes my day. How can some problems you have compare to having absolutely nothing.
I was treated with respect and after a few days there, I was part of the family. Some of the tricks played on me still makes me lol !
When I left to continue my travels, I am not afraid to say I left with a tear in my eye. Thanks to everyone for making me welcome and helping me in my worldwide development … I thought it was me who was supposed to help them!
There is so much talk about volunteers and whether their volunteering is hindering the development of children, as some feel the Government should be dealing with the problems. Take it from me, the Government will never deal with their many social problems. To not volunteer in many areas would set back the country and the lives of a generation of children.
Any time spent volunteering is time well spent and is definitely helping!
Before I volunteered for Samrong I took a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) course, as I wanted to be able to plan some of my time at Samrong.
It is not necessary to have qualifications as it is very hands on and the English ranges from nothing to conversational. Any help is help. One thing to remember is that English is fast becoming the international language of Cambodia. Business and service industries rely on and expect English language for communication.
When I was sitting in the relaxing area by myself, when the kids were at school, with not a lot to do, did I feel it was worth it?
I realised it was, because I wanted to do so much for these guys, so making my plan came into action. I made individual goals for some of the children and when speaking to Dr Sam, asked for the next lot of volunteers to try and keep it up.
It was hard to motivate some of them, they come back from school and needed to rest, eat, play and socialise. Having a lesson or two is not always in their plans. But, over a two week period I saw real progress and would explain why a simple thing such as speaking English would help their future.
There were 7 Samrong students at the University and they were so pleased to have someone to help with their conversation and English language skills.
Yes, it was worth it!
Do not expect 5 star accommodation and meals here. What you get is real volunteering, living, eating and being involved at this worthwhile home. You do get 5 star loving from the children.
The more you give in time and effort is easily seen and appreciated.
I really did not know what to expect when I volunteered at ‘the farm’. I was pretty nervous and had no obvious skills to speak of. Well, within 5 minutes of me being there, I was made so welcome and the children had me playing games and I laughed so much. I thought I was an average badminton player, well I was beaten by a 12 year old!
The boys play a lot of football and even though the field was rough the skills were there. Great for exercise too. My time there went so quickly and I made some special friends for life.
I now know that my skills include being a caring person, helping in the development of children by just talking and listening and a having a willingness to help out when needed.
I feel proud of myself as I was totally out of my comfort zone for a short period but I was not there for myself. I learned so much about their lives, I will be back when I can.
Phorn is 24 years-old and comes from Kompong Cham Province. Phorn arrived at the farm in 2006 as a 12 year old, not long after it had been established, staying for 12 years.
Once again, Phorn was a very popular and intelligent girl and also studied Accounting at Asia Euro University. She has gone on to become an Accountant for the B-Quick company. In the future, she would like to be an accountant at a bank in Cambodia.