Since 2009 we have set up three centres in Phnom Penh which educate and mentor 300 young children. These children who would normally be working on the streets at age 5, are now able to get an education and have a bright future. Seeing the impact on these children and their families has changed our hearts forever.
Click here to watch Sarah's great video about the project or here to visit Transform Cambodia's website.
|The t-shirt says “I am a little
Mollydooker, destined for
a great future
For each child in the program we specially designed a little Aussie tank top that has a message on the front that says “ I’m a little Mollydooker, destined for a great future.” The children are so excited to receive them and wear them proudly.
Every time we visit we are more and more excited about how this project is Transforming the lives of the next generation in Cambodia.
In December 2010 Sparky and I took our two children Luke and Holly to Cambodia. The Cambodian children loved spending time with them and the whole experience had a great impact on both Luke and Holly.
Read on for the Gigglepot’s (Holly's) experience of Cambodia.
My Experience of Cambodia – by Holly Marquis
In December of 2010 we travelled to Cambodia. At first, I didn’t know what to expect. I had only heard stories about the poverty but had no idea what it would be like from my own eyes. When we arrived at ‘Mollydooker 1’, the children all sang us a welcoming song in English and swarmed us with hugs. They were all so happy to see us.
We then went into the office above the school and met Justin and Emily, the managers of Transform Cambodia. They told us how the charity had progressed over the last year and what they were doing to expand it. They have now got a new staff selecting procedure in place. They hold a camp where all the applicants go to and have to survive and persist through. After the camp, they choose the people who have stayed positive, persisted and showed leadership throughout the camp.
Transform Cambodia is looking to expand into the provinces in the near future and build more schools still in the city. At the moment, they have 11 schools in total educating 1100 children.
We stayed at Mollydooker 1 until lunchtime and then headed to Mollydooker 2. The children at the second centre were much younger than the rest as they had just started coming to Transform Cambodia. They showed us some of their performances for the Christmas party and also some on the English they had learnt. At the end of the school day, some of the staff took us out to three of the children’s homes.
On the way there we stopped by the market to buy some food to give to the families we visited. The market was a terrible sight. There were stalls with meat hanging off posts all around the stall and a person sleeping in the middle of it. There was flies and other bugs all over the meat. As soon as you got close to the market you could smell all of the food (and let me tell you, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing) and yet, the children that came in with us looked very natural about it all. At first I wondered why they weren’t blocking their nose like I was. But then you think about it and, this is what they live like. Their markets aren’t sterilised and their homes aren’t clean, they don’t even know what it is to have fresh food to eat. We live in a world where if we don’t get our own way, we will get upset; we don’t even appreciate what is given to us. We just take things for granted.
It wasn’t until I had visited Cambodia that I had realised how luxurious my life is. These people live in a one-room house with wooden slats for beds, no kitchen and a community toilet. One of the houses we went to had six people living in a 3 square meter room, which is even smaller than my own bedroom. The thing is, they don’t complain that they don’t have the latest technology or style. Most of the children only have two outfits, and yet, they are grateful for what they have and incredibly happy.
The Transform Cambodia ‘Christmas Party’ was an incredible way to see how many people we are touching by letting their children have an education. There was 4,000 people that attended and each school did two performances. Every student was given a Christmas present, the boys received a toy helicopter and the girls got a Barbie doll. The families also received a mat for their home.
Going to Cambodia was a life changing experience that I will never forget. To see the joy that we are bringing to these children in giving them an education is amazing.