Day Four – Completion
Day four marked the end of the visits to the various beneficiaries, as the volunteers from the inaugural Project Happy Feet Volunteer Experience (PHF VLX) visited the last beneficiary – Trailblazer Foundation.
As part of the program planned, Trailblazer Foundation’s director, Ung Chanrattana, brought the volunteers to Tatoav Primary School in the Svay Caek Commune to visit the programs implemented. This was not the usual primary school program; rather it was an adult-empowerment program conducted to provide local farmers with the knowledge and capabilities to grow hybrid variety seeds.
Farmers typically grow cucumbers, which sell at the local market for 200 Riels (0.05USD) a kilogram, however Trailblazer Foundation aims to provide these farmers with the capabilities to grow hybrid varieties of Edamame, which can fetch a price of 4000 (1 USD) a kilogram. This significantly empowers the lives of farmers, and brings them closer to breaking free from the poverty cycle.
After spending 2 hours at the school finding out more about the programs and interacting with the children over a game of “hopscotch”, the team headed over to the Women’s Development Centre for Siem Reap. This is a training institute, which provides women with training in weaving and sewing, with the long-term aim of allowing them to start their small businesses. The team was indeed highly impressed with the support and focus given to the locals, which we hope will improve their standards of living.
Rattana ended the day’s program with a visit to his office, where research has been conducted into various Appropriate Technologies to improve rural livelihoods such as Bio-sand water filters, Oyster Mushroom cultivation, and development of Hybrid varieties of crops. The team was especially impressed with the Bio-sand water filters, and after a short deliberation, decided to sponsor 2 systems to villages with urgent needs. In addition, the team sponsored 1 training course for farmers in hybrid cultivation and the purchase of 300 pairs of slippers for the children in the various villages.
Seeing that it is the last day of planned activities, the team finalized the disbursement of funds. This includes a sponsorship for 1 student to attend the full hospitality course at Shinta Mani Foundation, as well as for 5 students to undergo training at This Life Cambodia. In ensuring full accountability for the funds disbursed, the team stressed the importance of monitoring the progress of these initiatives, through requiring these foundations to regularly furnish the team with progress reports.
Having visited all the beneficiaries, and disbursing all the funds raised, the team agreed that they have learnt a significant deal about making a difference in education and improving lives. Moreover, this experience has empowered not only the lives of the people here, but also the team themselves, as they gained invaluable insights into the various ways they can empower the lives of people through education and training.