Volunteering – Abroad

Last weeks radio show was about volunteering, and the lovely Jaye Cope recorded a piece on her experiences for us. I have the transcript below for you, including all the relevant links. I don’t know about you, but when I listened to her, I had tears in my eyes. I hope this inspires some of you! (i have used Jaye’s photos in the body of the article)

Link to the shows FB page : https://www.facebook.com/livethemomentradio/?fref=ts

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My Name is Jaye and i spent my summer volunteering at Aspire Orphanage in Cambodia.

About

Aspire Training and Education is an Orphanage and School based in Trang Village just outside of Siem Reap. It was set up by Mr Sean Samnang on the 14th November 2012- he lives on site with his wife Borey and his 3 children. Two of his children attend school there but the youngest is only 25 days old! Aspire is a Non-Government Organistation that relys on donations and funding from outside parties, businesses, individuals and volunteers.

Currently Aspire is home to 40 children offerring them education, protection and a brighter future. Each child is treated equally and given the opportunity to grow up as children should in a safe and positive environment.

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The school provides lessons in English, Traditional Dance, Japanese Lessons and more recently computer lessons for the older children.

Sean has previously helped 5 students gain employment and currently there are 4 students who wish to finish University and help at Aspire by becoming teachers themselves- this truely is a great testament to Sean and the opportunities Aspire brings to each child.

My time at Aspire

After initially signing up for 2 weeks volunteering 7 weeks later i had to leave to catch my flight home.
I spent 7 weeks being a teacher, a friend, a footballer, a brick layer, a gardener, a walking climbing frame and above all i was a student. I learned so much from the children and adults there- they truely inspired me and put a lot of things in to perspective for me! I made friends that turned in to family and memories that will last a lifetime. I miss them all very much but i will heading back at Xmas after ive completed fundraising for a Xmas party for them all!

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Why

Whilst i know i live in a country that has provided me with free education, opportunities and many safety nets if it all goes wrong. Cambodia is a beautiful country with friendly, inspirational people but life is very hard for the vast amount of people there. There are no safety nets. If you have no money your family doesnt eat. Then to be a child in that situation where either your parents can no longer look after you or you find yourself on your own is not a nice thought where ever you live in the world.
It is cliche to say i want to help make a difference but it is clear that Aspire has and will continue to have a positive impact on these childrens lives and i will be supporting them any way i can.

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Where are they now plus long and short term goals

Currently the new school building and volunteer house are partly in process but this work has temporarily stopped due to a lack of funding- the current classrooms are wooden with tin roofs and open sides which make it sometimes impossible to teach due to wind, rain and even the heat.
Progress is slow but it is happening and everyone remains positive and is looking to the future.

Long term goals at Aspire is to secure a sponsor and complete the new concrete school building and volunteer house. This will secure Aspires future and that of the children that live and learn there and will give them the room to grow, employ teachers and open its doors to more children in the community and ultimately give everyone a brighter future.
With the completion of the new school building the next step will be a library for the children- it will be in the new building so the books will be protected from the elements.

Short time goals but also the most important is ensuring Aspire is able to run on a daily basis.
A personal goal for me is to set up a UK based office for them in order to fundraise over here.
Aspire has already started working towards becoming more self sufficient and now have a small garden area, chickens, a cow and a fish pond to provide a source of food and income.
Currently Sean makes a monthly rice donation to the families of children who attend school but live in extreme poverty- I know they are looking at expanding this to more families in the community.

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    My next goal for Aspire is to raise money for a Xmas party for the children and their families- i am hoping to raise £1500. The money would pay for food, soft drinks and a small present for each child consisting of 1 item of clothing and a new school set (book, bag, pencil). Every child deserves a special Xmas- your donation will help towards making it a Xmas to remember

If you would like any more information on Aspire then please contact me on via the methods below.

If you would like to make a donation to the Xmas fund then please go to my just giving page:
https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/jaye-cope-1

For monthly donations, sponsorship or volunteer inquiries please contact me on 07775868295 or Jaye.cope@gmail.com

Aspires FB page:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=243933512466079

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