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Occupation: Community Team Leader for Central Coast Living Options - NGO supporting people with disabilities
Hometown: Ourimbah, Australia
IVHQ Program: Cambodia
Program Date: August 2012 - 12 weeks
What is your fondest memory from your time volunteering abroad with IVHQ?
So many to list!! The first memory that comes to mind is that of when the children I support started school. Arriving to pick them up, to take them to their first day of school. Seeing them jump up and down, clapping their hands, smiling and giggling! All eagerly awaiting, dressed in their brand new uniforms. It bought tears to my eyes! Tears of joy!! I will never forget many of these moments, they are etched in my memory forever!
Why should you be the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year?
To be IVHQ Volunteer of the Year, would benefit the program I volunteered for, Joy Day Care Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Also the other project, I hold close to my heart, and that is, sending the children of Phnom Penh dump to school. An award, such as the Volunteer of the year, brings recognition to both of these programs, which in turn benefits fundraising efforts and public awareness of the programs.
On a more personal level, my time spent in Cambodia was very rewarding. I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, somehow.
I believe I achieved that, with my participation and volunteering at Joy Day Care Centre, also with beginning and supporting the project of sending the older brothers and Sisters of the children of Joy Day Care Centre, to school. From little things, big things grow. With education, these children have hope for the future, changing the lives of many.
The experience of being a volunteer extends beyond the volunteer work you do. I like to think I supported my peers, the general public and others that I met throughout my stay in Cambodia.
I guess it is a hard question to answer, 'Why should you be the IVHQ Volunteer of the Year?' I believe the majority of the volunteers I met would fit the criteria.
What benefits will the award money have for your designated project?
The project I volunteered with, Joy Day Care Centre was established by Transform Asia. Transform Asia was founded by Setan and Randa Lee. Setan and Randa escaped from the killing fields of Cambodia. They were granted refugee status in America. With The Lords guidance, and in doing The Lords work, they later returned to Cambodia to help their people. They have established many centres and programs to help many disadvantaged children, youth, adults and elderly. Their ongoing work is funded by donations, along with a lot of their own time and money. The children of Joy Day Care Centre could benefit from the award money in so many ways. The classrooms need tables and chairs. Learning or play equipment and office equipment. More than anything, they need a new vehicle to transport them back and forward from Phnom Penh dump to the centre. The current transport van is unreliable, too small for the amount of children transported, and costly in fuel and repairs.
The project that I started, with the help of Transform Asia, and particularly the staff of Joy Day Care Centre, is like an extension of the work that they started. An ongoing project of sending the older children over Six years old, to school. This involves paying a driver to transport the children to and from school, the vehicle costs and fees paid to the school. This is currently funded by myself and a few very giving and caring friends.
What is your long-term vision for this project?
Continued support to the children of Joy Day Care Centre, and their education, and that of their older brothers and sisters. Fundraising and buiIding a sustainable program to continue with the children’s education. I would like to one day be part of a NGO with a project of sending more and more children to school. My long term vision is to see at least the majority of these children go onto further education and careers. Hope for their future.