PKH September 2016 Trip Update

Good day friends! Greetings from PKHCambodia.

Just over two weeks ago (10th-13th September 2016), 74 supporters and friends of PKH, including 13 people from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) joined us on this trip to the three PKH Centres (Chbarmorn, Aoral and Trang). This is the biggest group PKH has ever hosted and we thank you for the great support for this work!

To those who were not able to join this trip, PKHCambodia is pleased to share a short summary (not exactly short but happy reading!) of the 4D3N trip and we hope you will be able to join us in the future.

Day One. It all started on the 10th September mid-day with a gathering at the Singapore-Changi airport to do a group  check-in for our flight. Everyone was punctual and it was heartening to see fellow trippers offering to carry 20kg mosquito nets each for distribution to the village people in Trang, so we had all these checked-in all at once!

At 345pm on the same day, as soon as we arrived into Phnom Penh, we boarded the coach to take us to Himawari Hotel (the hotel where we stayed for 3 nights) and we had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Royal Palace while traveling along the Mekong Delta Esplanade. Got in, checked-in, what’s next?

We had roughly an hour to refresh ourselves for the Alumni 2016 Dinner happening at Himawari Hotel, 6pm. In case you’ve been wondering, PKH has formed a PKH Alumni since 5 years ago (2011) with year-to-date membership count of over 750 members. The Alumni Dinner is a yearly activity and the purpose is to gather graduates from the different batches for a time of fellowship whilst also creating a forum to share their testimonies. At this year’s dinner, we had the very first batch of graduates return to share their stories and over 120 other graduates joining us, some with their families. We gave out hard copies of Life Stories containing their testimonies and if you wish to have a soft copy, please click here. SEATV News (Cambodian TV Channel) was also on site during the dinner to film the event and we have them in this link too!

Day Two. We started our day by attending a Service at the Anglican Church of Christ Our Peace (CCOP) of the Deanery of Cambodia. Soon after the Service, the rest of the day was a relaxing day pretty much for shopping/leisure while some of us parted ways to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Russian Market, Central Market and the AEON mall. Weather was not exactly favouring us with a big downpour after lunch so most of us had to stay indoors. Nonetheless, many of us had the opportunity to mingle with one another. We had great local Cambodian food for dinner at Kravanh I and II after which many had an early night in anticipation of an exciting full day the next day!

Day Three. We left the hotel, boarded the bus at 650am where we headed out of Phnom Penh into the country side of Kampung Speu. We visited the main centre, PKH Chbarmorn (headquarters of PKH’s work in Cambodia) and had to split into groups moving to our individual group vans (11 vans altogether). Soon after, we departed for Trang Village which is approximately an hour and a half away from the main centre. As it had been raining, the journey to Trang Village was quite bumpy and treacherous in some areas. Nonetheless, the drivers are skillful and we got there safely at 11AM (none of us had to push to free the van from being stuck in the mud!).

On arrival at PKH Trang, we were overwhelmed to see the people from the Trang village greeting us with smiles on their faces despite the harsh conditions they live in. We were given the opportunity to interact with the villagers (including the on-site teachers), distribute food rations and served each of them their meal (a plate of rice and a simple soup) as it was lunch break. We also had the chance to visit some of the homes of the villagers to understand the level of poverty these villagers face. After spending over 2 hours in Trang, we travelled to PKH Aoral (second centre built after the main centre) which was approximately an hour away, for a simple lunch. Not long after, we headed back to Chbarmorn and visited the PKH English School. This is where PKH has just started its new work of teaching English to 110 orphans and poor children, from 1st September 2016. Upon returning to PKH Chbarmorn, we had the opportunity to tour the neighbouring premises of Seeds of Hope Orphanage where PKH supports a third of the orphans. Our long day ended with a delicious Chinese meal in Phnom Penh. Seated at table with one another, we were able to exchange notes on what we had seen and experienced.

Departure Day. After an extremely useful sharing and feedback session in the morning, it was time to bid farewell to Cambodia and take our flight home! All by God’s grace, we got home safely at 7pm.

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Here are some quotes from our fellow trippers:

This trip is a real eye-opener for us.

A great and meaningful trip.

The kids in Trang are clearly malnourished and in need of medical help.

How can we be of help to PKH?

We can see how PKH has transformed lives.

For such a big group, it was well-organized.

We thank God for the dedication shown by the teachers and staff of PKH.

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I hope it was a useful trip for you as it was for us here in PKH. Thank you once again to all for your great support and hope to see you again!

Best Wishes, PKHCambodia

Project Khmer H.O.P.E. English School

On 5th August 2016, PKH signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kampong Speu Orphan Centre (KSOC) to take over the running of Cambodia Tomorrow School (CTS). This took place in the CTS premises located in Chbarmon, Kampong Speu Province. Ds Bessie Lee, Mrs Ena Chang (PKH Committee member in charge of this new work) and a few members of the PKH Committee and Staff represented PKH. KSOC was represented by its director, Mdm Pol Sokly, and 3 teachers from CTS.

CTS has 3 full time local teachers and is located on the grounds of KSOC with 2 classrooms, a computer lab and an office. With effect from 1 September 2016, the school will be renamed Project Khmer H.O.P.E. English School and PKH will be responsible for the direction, development, management and operations of the school.

CTS was set up in 2008 by a US non-profit organisation to provide English lessons to the orphans in KSOC and the poorer children age 3 to 18 years old from the surrounding community. Students attend the local Khmer public school but come to CTS for English lessons before or after school.

In January this year, PKH was approached by CTS to take over the running of the school as their Board decided to conclude their education programme by the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. Subsequently, PKH Committee members together with Ms Susan Goh (Head of PKH Centre, Chbarmon) visited KSOC and CTS on a few occasions to find out more about their work and how PKH can help. KSOC and CTS are located just behind the PKH Centre at Chbarmon and PKH had not entered into any collaboration with them in the past.

With this MOU, PKH will take over the management of the school with the 3 existing local teachers reporting directly to the Head of PKH Centre. Student recruitment has already started for the new academic year with the intake increasing from 90 to 110 students comprising of 46 from KSOC and 64 from the poorer families in the community. PKH will provide all materials necessary for lessons including school books, school bags, uniforms, stationery and refreshments.

PKH is excited about this opportunity to reach out to the children at KSOC as well as the surrounding community and look forward to integrating the students with joint activities and the weekend Livingstreams Club at PKH Centre.