Just a few of our spare photos which hadn’t made it into one of our blog updates but their subjects were so gorgeous I felt they deserved to.
It was carnival time of year again last week. This one aimed to raise awareness of road safety and woman’s rights. We had spent a few weeks making our butterfly (one of the themes) masks and sticks during our art classes in preparation for it.
As normal M’lop Tapang were the organizers and put in a huge amount of effort to make it all come together. It was fantastic! It was all crammed into one day this year so it was very busy, creating a very exciting atmosphere which the children loved as we got encircled by the crowds of flag wavers and drum beaters.
The children were very well behaved, especially considering how busy and hot it was and as always made the staff proud of the way in which they conduct themselves. Next year we will do it even bigger and better!
While we have always tried to encourage good oral hygiene in our students by giving out disposable toothbrushes once a week and teaching how to use them properly, the reality of it is difficult. The majority of our children (especially those with very bad teeth) do not have running water in their homes, meaning the likeliness of them remembering to brush their teeth is low. They can also, most likely, not afford toothpaste, so once the small tube has run out, the brushing stops.
We have been able to change this now thanks to the kind donation of toothbrush sets by some of our recent visitors. These individual sets contained toothbrushes (good quality), egg times, floss, picks and individual boxes to keep them in. We have then bought a supply of toothpaste to go along with them. The children have each been given one with their names on, to be kept at school. Then when the children arrive for each session they know that the first thing they have to do is brush their teeth. It is early days but so far so good! Hopefully in the photos to come you will see hundreds of Hollywood ready smiles.
Over the last few months another organisation has being trying to start up a sports facility for all the children in Sihanoukville to use. We have been helping them to organize it with the aim to create a place for children without access to good facilities to be able to come and be coached in different sports and take part in different team games, helping to build confidence and self worth.
We were finally able to start a few weeks ago, opening with a football tournament between a few different organisations in the area in order to promote the new facilities and open up contact links between the different charities (obviously all children attending the sports club will be registered to ensure they are not missing school etc to attend).
It was very successful and the children really enjoyed themselves. Since then we have started taking our children along for private lessons. Thursday will now be our sports day, with the children coming for their first hour of lessons with us and then being taken down for the rest of their session to play different sports. Our staff go too as playing sports all together is a good way to break down barriers between staff and children and give the children the reassurance that we are people they can always approach with worries or concerns.
We are all really excited for this new opportunity, believing it will add an extra element to the services we can provide the children which due to the lack of space at the center we have never been able to do before.
The Goodwill Center celebrated our Christmas on the 30th Dec. It was a fantastic day!
We were very busy with lots of the parents and older relatives of the children turning up to celebrate with us. Our children put on a dance and a play, sang and entertained the crowd with lots of funny games.
We had been so lucky with our kind visitors and volunteers that we were able to give all our regular students gifts of clothes, prizes for all of the top students and a raffle. All of the children that came along were given a book and pencil for school, a bag of apples and drinks and Khmer sweets. We were also lucky enough this year to have some Italian friends with us who cooked and served up nearly 200 plates of pasta for everyone who came. It was delicious and everyone went home with nice full bellies.
All of us had such a wonderful time, we cant wait for the next party for Khmer New Year!
From everyone here at the center we wish you all a very merry Christmas and lots of luck and happiness for the New Year.
An extra special thank you to some of the centers friends, many of whom are retired teachers themselves, who have made an extra effort to help us fund our Christmas celebrations this year. It will help us to ensure the children have a really fantastic day and one they will get to remember for a long time.
So high season is here again, the seas are clam and the sun is in the sky. We decided to welcome it in with a trip to the beach. We took 45 of our children down in the morning with all the staff and a few friends to help keep an eye on everyone. As normal with our beach trips we began with a beach clean up. Breaking up into 3 teams to tackle different areas. The children were happy to help and we managed to collect many bin bags full.
Once the hard work was done it was time to play. Straight into the water playing on inflatable rings and life vests. The children love it! It is such a pleasure to see them outside of their normal environment with such huge smiles on their faces. It is such a shame that when living so close to the water the children get so few chances to come. Unless it is a very special occasion it tends to be that the families of our children simply can not afford the time away from their work and life to visit the beach.
Henrik and Mom (our founder and the owners of the beach bar we based ourselves in) provided some delicious food for all the children after their swim to help replace some of the energy they had spent splashing around in the water.
It was a fantastic morning and one we will have to repeat before the season is over.