Would you like to share your skills with disadvantaged communities in Cambodia and Laos?
Uniting Journeys will be supporting schools in Cambodia and Laos this January through the Educational Support for Cambodia and Laos Project.
One of the schools the project supports is the House of Dreams residence in Laos.
Ken Pitsapheng is the founder of House of Dreams. He shares the story of why he decided to set up an educational support residence for children.
My name is Ken Pitsapheng or “Kenny” as Falung (foreigners) know me.
I was born in a rural area which was surrounded by beautiful jungle, and school was far away from my home. I had to ride my bicycle to school every day and the journey took over one hour each way.
Unfortunately one day I had an accident with my beautiful bike because it had no brakes, so I decided to move to the city and became a monk for over five years. While I was at the temple I learned a lot and studied hard, which made me what I am today. I believe that everyone has a dream, but achieving your dreams can be difficult; I couldn’t make my dream of becoming a doctor come true.
I tried and tried many times to get into medical school but I couldn’t make it, so I changed my plan to instead help guide students from rural areas to have an opportunity to make their dreams come true. Those students miss a lot of essentials such as funds, accommodation, and food etc. So I decided to set up the organization called ‘The House of Dreams’.
You can see more of Kenny’s story on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enduxGujvkc
The project will support House of Dreams through the Your Own 2 Hands Foundation, a trusted NGO in Laos. If you are unable to join the tour, donations can be made at www.yourown2hands.org.au to support the students through school and university.
The Uniting Journeys team will be travelling to Cambodia and Laos from 3 to 16 January 2016.
Contact Hank van Apeldoorn from Uniting Journeys at Hank.VanApeldoorn@victas.uca.org.au for an itinerary and application form to join this tour. You can also contact Robyn Angus on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Knitting communities together
Cambodia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Southeast Asia. According to the 2000 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS), for every 1,000 babies born in Cambodia, 95 die in their first year. Sadly, more than a third of these deaths occur in the first month of life. Another 33 children out of 1,000 die before their fifth birthday. Altogether, one in eight Cambodian children die between birth and the age of five.
A group of women from the Fairfield/Alphington Uniting Church Mission Group have set out to knit 50 baby bonnets for newborn babies in northern Cambodia. These women have been supporting disadvantaged communities in Cambodia since 2010. Some of the congregation members have travelled to Cambodia to offer support through education and community programs. The congregation has collected child-size toothbrushes to provide better dental health, and the women knit bonnets for newborn babies to stay warm during the cooler conditions.
If you would like to travel with Uniting Journeys to Cambodia in January to deliver the bonnets and help “knit” our communities together, please contact Robyn Angus: email@example.com or Hank van Apeldoorn from Uniting Journeys at Hank.VanApeldoorn@victas.uca.org.au. Uniting Journeys is the Uniting Church’s responsible travel program.