This installment of “Stories from the Field” features the experiences of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) Honors College 3-week group trip to Cambodia. It will be a 5 part series highlighting the meaningful work and experiences the students from UTC accomplished while volunteering in Cambodia with Global Service Corps.
Part 2: Children’s Center and an Introduction to Youth for Peace
On day three of their program, the UTC group visited another one of GSC’s partner organizations; an orphanage community founded by an American expat nurse and a Cambodian social worker and is part of GSC’s Children and Orphanage Care Program. While the students weren’t doing their project at the children’s center, GSC thought it would be beneficial for them to visit and learn about a highly respected Cambodian orphanage that’s not involved with orphanage tourism. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll recall that the students attended a presentation at Friends International put on by Child Safe. Child Safe aims to protect and empower children so they don’t fall prey to orphanage tourism. The students gained an interesting perspective from that presentation on Cambodian orphanages so it was good for them to see the positive side of orphanage’s in Cambodia.
Upon arrival, the group met with one of the orphanage founders. He talked to them about Cambodia’s history and evolution, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and his experience working with the UN. The children’s center has an on-site jewelry and art work store (with all the jewelry and artwork sold being made by the children at the orphanage center!), that volunteers can shop, and all the proceeds go back into the orphanage. The students almost bought out the entire store! From one of the UTC trip leaders Lindy H, “It was one of best experiences they had in Cambodia!”
The main project the students had prepared was to conduct workshops at another of GSC’s partner organizations, Youth for Peace (YFP). Before jumping right into the projects, the students had some time to meet the YFP staff, tour the facility, and prepare for their project. The first thing the students were asked to work on was creating a poster about what peace meant to them. As a group, they decided that they would each create an individual image of peace and then put all the images together on one big poster board. The poster was to be presented at a Reconciliation Ceremony for Khmer Rouge survivors in a few days.
Check back tomorrow for Part 3 to hear about the students experience with Khmer Rouge survivors at YFP’s Reconciliation Ceremony!