Sunday, 10 June 2012

...The Rachel McKenzie Travel Fund.

In September I will be travelling to Cambodia with Bunac to help teach children and adults to read, write and speak English. This is a voluntary position and I will be in Cambodia for 3 months. For me this is a trip of a life time and in order to get there I need to raise some money. All money raised will go towards flight cost. Now I'm not asking you to just give me money, I'm willing to work for it. How? Well I will be running the Regents Park 10k on the 1st July and for most of you who know me, long distance running isn't one of my strengths. However I am willing to put this aside and run. I appreciate anything that can be spared, I know times are hard but every penny given helps make a pound.

Why my help is needed.

During the time of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian schools were closed down, teachers were subjected to torture or execution and education of children was almost entirely neglected. When the regime fell in 1979, Cambodia’s educational system had to be built almost from scratch. By this point, huge numbers of the population were illiterate.

The Cambodian educational system is now in the process of redevelopment but it faces huge challenges. Not only is there a lack of skilled English-speaking teachers available but financial restrictions mean that teachers are often paid extremely poorly, leaving schools severely understaffed and classes overcrowded. Adding to this, schools tend to be equipped only with basic facilities. With a rise in tourism in Cambodia, speaking English is a hugely valuable skill but while the national syllabus requires children to learn a foreign language, this is often not possible due to insufficient resources.

Working in underprivileged schools or colleges, or in grass root community projects, volunteers are able to make a genuine contribution on this project by assisting local teachers or taking their own lessons. Though they are primarily required to help equip children and adults with valuable English skills, the role is fairly varied and there are also opportunities for volunteers who wish to organise extra curricular activities to do so. Whether they choose to organise sports days or football matches, or teach arts and crafts, dance or music, volunteers are encouraged to get involved with the school as much as they can in order to help the development of local children.

Cambodia is emerging from a humbling history and although it is beginning to stabilise itself it still faces real tests. This means that volunteers have the opportunity to make a genuine difference to Cambodia on a local level and, in immersing themselves in this unique and lively country, to do something truly rewarding.

So please click on the gaudy donate button to your right and give as much as you can, alternatively you can give through, I appreciate any amount given no matter how small. Please also leave your name in the comment box so I can give you a hearty thank you!

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