Sakka Foundation + 14 students from the University of Science and Technology
headed over for a volunteer trip to Phnom Penh Cambodia and had a fantastic time.
Here’s our trip report…! More entries to come from the students themselves on
* Eugene (Sakka)
* Miranda (UST connect rep)
* 14 students from UST: (Daniel Wang, Bryon Fan, Lilian He, Wing lam Leung, Hugo Tsui,
Para Zhao, Jessica Lu, Indi Tilve, Delia Ye, Angela Zheng, Michael Leung, Jessica Chen,
Susana Lee, Elaine Wang)
2nd June: CCF (Cambodian Children’s Fund)
* Met with their Donor Relations Manager Mr Patrick McKinlay, who gave us a tour
around CCF5 and CCF6 (kids school + dorm and small kids day care/nursery).
* UST students presented a photo workshop.
* We split into groups to tour different vocational facilities of CCF. Visited their Star
Bakery where they have a chef (ex-Intercontinental-Hotel) teaching teenagers about
baking/cooking techniques. They baked breads/cakesall day!
While part of the baked goods are sent to bakery shops for sales to generate income, most of them are for self- consumption (within all CCF communities, including the kids and their families).
Students in this program can then get a job in the culinary business.
*Patrick told me that nowadays, fund raising is not as easy. So even if we’re only able to
do some minor programs or small donations, it will really help.
* He said that since we’re cooperating with UST, we might investigate the possibility of
getting a scholarship for some of the kids as exchange students to study a term, or a
course (1-3 months) in HK, so to widen their exposure to the outside world. HK is
located not too far away and it might be less costly than arranging the kids into the
States. I talked to Miranda of UST and she said she would investigate with their
department and see if this is possible. She thinks a summer course will be easier to
arrange than having the kids to come in the middle of the school year for a term.
* Patrick also mentioned that CCF would like to further develop CCF6 (small kids) to
accommodate up to 70 babies/toddlers for day care (right now it’s only around 20).
3rd/4th June: Wat Opot
* it was really amazing to see how much Melinda had done to Wat Opot within the last
UST students donated * a laptop to Wat Opot.
* Construction: at the time being, a new building is under development and it will be
used as a volunteer dorm in future. They have gotten the funding from an overseas
organization on constructing this building. Once the building is finished, all volunteers
will be moved over and the current volunteer dorm will be transformed into teenage
* UST students organized various group games with the kids and they really loved it!
* We had lunch at Wat Opot and paid lunch money to Wayne as donation (Melinda
now in charge of all money matters).
* meet with Samangh and Longde (younger brothers of Samorn and Samet) and they
are expressing keen interest in studying in University.
Samangh will be eligible for university study starting from coming Sept and he is
interested in Architectural design (related to his skills in painting).
Longde will be ready to enter university in Sept of 2012.
However, Wayne still has no clue on how to fund these kids yet.
* they have built more ponds for fish and they now have around 5000 fishes ready to
be fished for sale in these coming weeks.
* They also have a place for chickens now.
* They have built another garden for growing of vegetables. The current garden is
more lush and has more vegetables growing (for self-consumption + re-sale purpose).
* Small pigs are still for sale from the pig farm.
* Children are clean and disciplined now.
* They are not lacking any volunteers as volunteers around the world keep coming in.
* Handicrafts such as necklaces, bracelets, etc, are still being sold at their Art room but
Melinda is also connecting Wat Opot with some retail shops in Phnom Penh to sell these
handicrafts. The New Zealand lady who used to be volunteers at WOCC is sponsoring
* have asked both Wayne and Melinda about their needs and they are grateful that we
can sponsor on the various items for a quarter. They would appreciate we can help
them to cover their basic cost (same items that we agree to sponsor on for a quarter) as
this can really take most of their problems off and let them to work on the well-being of
* Medical care is still being taken care of FOC while medication had been sponsored by
another organization. However, Wayne said he is a bit worried as the doctors are
talking about charging them the medical care fees in future.
* They might need 10 bicycles for the bigger kids to go to school (instead of walking
distance, they have to travel for a long distance, eg, Samangh has to get up at 4:30 am
every morning to catch the class at 6am)
* their next plan is to build a retreat center at Wat Opot. They have got a lot of
enquiries about accepting visitors to stay in the area, to play with kids and to hold yoga
retreats etc, which will help them to bring in some income. They estimated the cost
would be around US$15,000-20,000.
* UST students think that Wat Opot is a place where more developments can be done
in physical form, such as buildings and facilities etc. They also found that Melinda is
doing a great job there!
5th/6th June: Who Will
* Money for the donations we had committed earlier soon to be wired to them, they
are looking forward to this as they had already got permission from the monks in the
nearby Wat to build the electricity network via their property.
* UST students assisted in the building of the dam (improvement of pond – dividing
into smaller sections) to prevent the fishes from coming out from pond during flooding
season. Who Will has all the materials ready and UST students had provided 2 morning
of free labour for them on this project. However, only 1/4 or less of the dam was being
built. The workers hired by Who Will can do the rest of the work.
* UST students were originally planning to grow Morning Glory around the pond but
they had used up most of their time on the dam work, hence, didn’t plant the Morning
glory, however, they were ready to be planted, so the workers will also complete the
works for them.
* the soccer field is still quite desolate, however, small patches of grass has started to grow
* Gerald informed me that they had recently carried out a water test and
unfortunately, found the water is not up to healthy standard. They might need to build a
water treatment plant for this but in case the amount for building of the treatment
plant is below US$5000, then they should have the budget to cover it.
* In 2012, they would love to raise some fund to build a volunteer house on the
property. Gerald has successfully done all the papers for Who Will and it’s now more
convenient for him to arrange working permits for his Volunteers.
However, they are all staying at the village, which is a big obstacle as they all need
to leave Who Will before the sun set (they have to ride back when they can still see the roads) and they have to ride out for lunch as well.
If the volunteers can be stationed on the property, they can give more English lessons
to the kids. (The english is getting better nowadays with the tutorial classes from volunteers and the teacher). Estimated that the cost will be around US$25,000.
* UST students played games with the kids and they were so happy.
We also held a Sakka Olympics (in the form of Amazing Races).
* House 1-3 have 12 kids right now while House 4 only has 8 kids.
Our group was divided up and had lunches at different houses
(lunch money paid to Who Will as donation).
* UST students really love the kids from Who Will as they are more educated and
easier to communicate. Also they found that these kids were very caring towards them.
7th June morning:
Dental program at Happy Tree (Dr. Annie’s One-to-one Cambodia)
* Detour from the group sightseeing activities and went over to the Hospital.
* Met with Kimserang, our sponsored dentist there.
* During my visit, they were having some kids from other communities visiting for
* The dental clinic is now working Mon-Fri, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, while one day (or
two, depends on situation of the kids in Happy Tree) being reserved for the kids at
Happy Tree (HIVs kids). The clinic is opened for free service for children from other
communities as well, however, appointment would be needed before hand.
* Have a dentist assistance (for basic check-up and filling for cavities only) and another
dental nurse working with Kimserang (being sponsored by Camkids).
* most equipment being sponsored by Taiwanese donor whiles some minor equipment
and medication being sponsored by New Zealand donor. They also worked with the
mobile unit during weekend for out province dental care workshops as well as for
prisoners’ dental check-up.
* Kimserang was the 1st generation student leader ex Drew’s operation and he had
been studying with 2 –year scholarship arranged by EYC (balance 3-years his family
helped to raise the money). He also worked with Dr. Annie as a volunteer before and he
decided to give back to the communities upon his graduation, hence, he accepted Dr.
Annie’s offer when he was being presented with the opportunity. He thanks for our
sponsorship on his salary.
7th June afternoon: EYC (Drew)
* the group was split up into 2 for a tour around the slum building where Aziza school
is being located.
* UST students assist in teaching their ABC lesson (4:00-5:00 pm) and Computer lesson
(4:00-5:00 pm). They also did some games with the kids there.
* Some part of the building had been evicted by Government already and Drew didn’t
know if or when the Government would do anything about it at all, however, in near future,
didn’t see the harm yet. As for Lakeside school, most of the slum area had been
removed, however, Lakeside schools still staying intact there.
* We didn’t get the chance to meet with our sponsored teacher (their class started at
5:30 pm) as the weather turned bad and we had to go earlier than planned.
* Drew is now studying the possibilities in setting up a 4th school somewhere in a
single-mom slum area. He will keep us posted.
UST students are very keen to go back and stay longer with kids in both Wat Opot and
Who Will. UST connect will be planning something and possibly will be during Jan 2012
when the kids are having their winter break.
Also discussed the possibility of showcasing their photos for our upcoming Annual Event
and they are very happy to do so. They believe they can get sponsors for printing and
framing the photos for them (but they will need to further work on it in Sept after