Hello everyone! My name is Christine Nguyen and I'm currently a freshman at San Jose State University. Ever since I was a young girl, I knew that in the future I'd want to work with children and education. From the EDventure Program, I've been giving this wonderful opportunity to volunteer in Siem Reap, Cambodia next Summer, where I'll get the chance to teach and reach out to orphans in pursuing their dreams and aspirations. I believe schools should be a safe haven for children; a place where they can find comfort, security and have chances to grow and explore their inner beings. I know in developing countries, children are highly eager to learn, however, financial burdens hinder their learning experiences. They are unable to pay for the necessary books, uniforms, or exams whilst living on or less than $1 a day. Many children in Cambodia do not have many opportunities to receive life changing school experiences as children in more developed countries. The EDventure program gave me insight on the people of Cambodia. Although the country still bears scars and trauma by the events of the Khmer Rouge, the people of Cambodia are incredibly strong and eager to endure these hardships and advance towards more prosperous futures. I believe children are the future of this world and I hope travelling to Cambodia will provide these orphans the education they so yearn for.
Assisting Rural Communities and Farms:
Not only would I be able to share deep connections and experiences with the children, I'd also be able to assist the small and rural communities in Siem Reap, Cambodia. These rural villages suffer a high rate of diseases, illiteracy, and lack sanitation of water and food. I've opened my eyes and realized that sanitized food, community development, and especially education, are high priorities for diminishing the amount of poverty and improving the conditions of life in a sustainable matter. In addition to purifying water, I'd also be able to support sustainable agriculture by doing projects such as mushroom growing to assist farmers to sell cash crop to sell at markets. Volunteers such as myself in Cambodia will set up trial gardens for researching purposes and to find affordable ways to conserve water for these villages. There is so much to be done in Cambodia and I hope that my contribution and volunteer work will benefit these communities.
What I Hope Will Come Out of This Experience:
During my experience in Seam Reap, I'm sure I will learn to truly appreciate being able to develop deep connections and relationships with the people of Cambodia - both children and adults. Teaching and building will strengthen my understanding of what life is like in Cambodia and I hope my leadership skills will become stronger while creating positive impacts and changes for these people I'm eager to meet. Throughout my life, I was aware that I lack in depth understanding of my cultural background. I'm not Cambodian, but I'm also South East Asian descent and by growing up in the United States all my life, I've lost the connection and cultural ties to my family history and background. I wish to learn more not only about my own heritage, but of the traditions of the people of Cambodia as well, who were affected by the Vietnam War just as my parents were. I am currently working part time as a tutor for elementary school students and I've estimated that by April, I will have almost enough for the entire trip (which includes transportation to the rural communities, education materials for the orphanages and village schools, and materials needed for conservation projects) , excluding air fare fees. The $1,500 I wish to fund will accommodate the remaining cost for the trip and my flight ticket. In conclusion, I know this trip will be rewarding for myself and for the friendships I will surely make.