Jack Petchey Foundation
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Helping build a more sustainable education system in Cambodia

Guneet Anand volunteered in a rural province of North East Cambodia with Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) and International Citizen Service (ICS). The Jack Petchey Foundation supported her volunteer work by awarding her with a £300 Individual Grant for Volunteering, to help cover the costs of the trip.

Guneet was a part of the project’s education team working in five primary schools in the rural town of Stung Treng. The education project focused on working closely with the Provincial Office for Education, to create and deliver sessions in seven key areas; libraries, playgrounds, life skills, environment, health and hygiene, sport and student councils. The work was based on a child friendly framework, which aimed at developing a stronger, more sustainable education system. Guneet and her team planned sessions for the children, tailoring them to various age groups in order to increase their knowledge and understanding of the key issues. These interactive sessions worked extremely well and the children were engaged and enthusiastically joined in.

Her group also ran various Community Action Days for different parts of the community, touching on topics such as road safety, personal and food hygiene, human trafficking and domestic violence. There was a large turnout for each activity that the volunteers organised, showing a real willingness within the community to learn and take part.

In particular Guneet enjoyed the cultural exchange saying “Through my placement with VSO ICS, I have learnt how to adapt and immerse myself in a new culture adjusting to new living conditions, food and cultural norms of the community. Immersing oneself in a new culture meant that we had to adhere to traditional norms and views, with the help of our Khmer counterpart, we were able to understand these whilst communicating with the host family and other people in the community learning basic Khmer.”

As part of the education team, Guneet learnt how to write up session plans, came to understand the amount of time, resources and paperwork that is needed to set up a session or meeting and how to facilitate sessions to students of various ages. Being on the Community Action Day and Debrief Committee, she was in charge of budgeting and negotiating prices with local business owners. All of these new skills will help her to achieve her dream career in business.

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