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First Things First!

When Covid began, we put in place arrival procedures, so we could take the temperatures and sanitize the hands of students, before beginning classes. To keep the children entertained we would often play games or sing songs to occupy them while they waited.

It turned out to be a lovely way to start the session, with students and staff all together, setting a relaxed and friendly tone for the rest of the day. We have now extended this practice, to include stretches and light exercise, led by the ever enthusiastic Kolab and Leakna, to get everyone in the mood for a productive day.

 
 

Happy Khmer New Year!

We have finished this term with a small Khmer New Year party. 

As covid is still rife we were not able to invite the wider community to join the festivities, but it was still great fun to celebrate with the younger students. We played all the regular traditional games, with sack races, tug of wars, talc filled balloons and breaking of pots, along with eating lots of fruit and jelly. 

Everyone will spend next week celebrating with families and attending Pagodas. At this time they, with the monks, will make blessings to their ancestors, and ask for their ancestors to bless them with safety, success and luck for the coming year, in return. 

We wish this for you all too!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2022 in 2012, 2022

 

Getting Creative in Preschool

Our preschool/early years classes are the most busy at the moment. The current economic situation is meaning parents and families are having to work for longer hours away from home, meaning we often have very young children joining in classes.

We spend a lot of time playing and creating. Teacher Leakna is especially good at working in groups, to help the children learn patience and sharing, while having fun at the same time. It also provides the children with a safe alternative to selling on the streets with parents/family members, or staying home alone.

Early years education is so important for children’s development so we are delighted to have so many young members of our center!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2022 in 2022

 

A Lesson From an Old Friend

We were delighted to have a surprise visit from one of our old students this week. Back in the area to see family, he visited the center and talked with the staff and kids. We all remember him very fondly, as a fun, cheeky little boy, with firm friends. He initially struggled with speech development, but lots of practice with Kolab (his teacher) soon had him chatting away.

When he was 8 years old he moved back to his home province. We received updates about him from his relatives living near the centre. A few years ago they told us that he and his family had made the decision that he would become a monk, dedicating his life to Buddhism. He has been practicing for 3 years now, and says he enjoys the lifestyle. He is a lot changed as he has grown up and seems very content in himself.

He spent time to talk with our students (a few who he knew from his time with us) about what his day to day routine is like. What monks do, and the importance of being a good, respectful and kind person. The students were really responsive and enjoyed the discussion. It was amazing to see him again and know that he is doing so well. We wish him good luck for the future!

When he was a boy at the center!
Playing with friends
 
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Posted by on February 19, 2022 in 2022

 

Evening Classes Start Back Up!

We are delighted that after a long break we have finally been able to re-open our evening English classes!

These classes are so important as they allow teenagers and young adults to further their studies outside of either their state school, or in some cases, working hours. The high standard of these evening classes, provides our students with a thorough grounding in English, with which they have a far greater chance of securing university placements or finding gainful employment in their futures.

We very much hope to continue on this positive and progressive path, and thank you all for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2022 in 2012

 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish all our friends and supporters a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

While we were unable to go through with our traditional Christmas party this year, we made sure to make time for some group games with prizes, and to hand out apples and other treats!

We wish you all the luck and happiness for the coming year and thank you very much for sticking with us!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2021 in 2012

 

Lots of Lessons

After so much time away from formal education, many of our students have found themselves needing a little help getting back in the swing of things. We have spent time assessing their levels and finding classes that best suit their needs. We have also increased the number of “sit down lessons” to help the children catch up. The teachers are coming up with wonderful activities to help get the students re-engaged with their studies and ready for their Government School classes.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2021 in 2021

 

The Doors Are Back Open!

After what seems like forever, the doors to the center are finally back open to all our students. The Cambodian government have been wisely cautious with lifting lockdowns, but have now allowed the full reopening of schools and NGOs.

The staff did a terrific job of providing support to families in the community while we were closed, but it is our center, the safe, supportive and fun learning environment, where we are really able to shine! To have it filled with our students again (with safety measures in place, hand sanitising, temperature checks etc) is a joy.

We often find the beginning of term to be our quietest time, as students get used to studying again and juggling their hours. This has certainly not been the case this time! Everyone has shown up eager to join in. The resilience of the children to survive such a difficult time, remaining positive, and maintaining their desire to learn and explore the world, is inspiring.

Let us keep everything crossed for luck, that the worst is finally behind us!

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2021 in 2021

 

Continued Lockdowns

The lockdowns are ongoing through the rainy season here. Our staff have continued to support the community in any way they can. We are currently compiling lists of anyone in extra need due to lack of income or illness so we can ensure they get the help they need. We are also looking to provide any housing/building materials needed to better weatherproof the homes of our families for the worst of the season.

While a few families have become infected with Covid in our area, we have been lucky not to see it spread too badly. All staff are all now fully vaccinated and the vaccine programme is being rolled out in the community swiftly. With this in mind, we hope it will not be long before we can reopen our doors fully again.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2021 in 2012

 

Fundraising Update

Our fundraising efforts have been going well so far and we have reached nearly 70% of our target. It is all thanks to the kind generosity of our friends, family and supporters. A huge thank you to all of you for sticking with us!

Covid 19 is steadily being brought under control in Cambodia, so we are hopeful we will be back running as normal soon enough. Until then we continue to support the community with food supplies, advice and medical help when needed. The annual rains have arrived and areas of Sihanoukville are once again flooding, so we are also making sure our families and their homes are secure.

The staff have been busy planning new activities for students when they return. We can’t wait to get going again! All members of our team have now had their first (and some their second) vaccinations, so here is hoping it will not be too much longer until we are back!

Thank you so much again from all of our team, we couldn’t do it without you!

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2021 in 2012

 

Community Support for Lockdown

Sadly the spread of Covid is getting worse in Cambodia and many areas are now on strict lockdown, including some of the families in our Community.

Having to quarantine in your own home is hard enough for all of us, but for our poorer families the reality means sharing one very small room between everyone. There is no separate space to isolate the contaminated person.

On top of this, is the fear of no income at all, rendering you unable to feed your family.

This is a reality that many of our families are now facing.

To help alleviate some of this stress, we have been arranging large community food drops to ensure the families have some food they can depend on.

An alcohol ban has also been imposed, and while this may mean we miss the odd end of the day beer, it also limits drinking in the home, which often leads to increased levels of domestic violence.

The government are trying to wrestle back control of the virus so we must all hope for a swift and safe recovery.

Our fundraising push is going well so far and we are nearing 50% of our needed total. If you have not donated yet, please consider doing so.

Thank you for your support!

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2021 in 2021

 

Please Help Save Our Centre!

This year has been an impossibly hard one for everyone and is sadly proving to be one last hurdle we can’t seem to pass.

We really need your help!

As many of you are aware over the last 2 years Sihanoukville has undergone a very turbulent development, one result of which, has been the crumbling of infrastructure and increasing inequality in the area. This has put an extra demand on the services we provide (especially in the form of healthcare and nutritional support), driving up our costs.

At the same time, many local businesses that supported us with funds/supplies closed and visitors (who would often sponsor us), stopped coming. On top of this, rent at our centre increased and staff salaries had to be raised to match the local hyperinflation.

As it seemed Sihanoukville had started to settle, the Covid pandemic rocked the world, devastating many, and unfortunately drying up our funding sources further.

These things in combination have left the centre with a big funding deficit which we must fill in order to continue our work.

Our centre is a truly beautiful place and a real focal point for the community. The impact it has on the lives of families in the area is incalculable. In providing those basic services so many of us take for granted, we have changed lives, aiding families through times of crisis and creating an invaluable safe space for children suffering hardship. In the 16 years we have run, we have seen children from illiterate backgrounds finish education, attend university and find gainful employment.

We do not want this to stop!

What we need now is stable, monthly contributions, to fill the gap that has been left, and secure our crucial day to day services. With this in mind we are reaching out and asking people to become monthly donors.

Monthly donors are our angels. You bring stability and peace of mind when it comes time to pay our bills, and give us the freedom to continue our life changing work.

We are hoping to find 100 generous donors to provide £15 per month (or anything you can afford!), which will provide us with the security we need to operate and plan ahead, safe in the knowledge that our core services can continue.

Thank you so much for looking through this and for any help you can give!

You can either click on the button above to be taken to our secure PayPal page, or email me (goodwillcentersihanoukville@gmail.com) for our bank details if you’d prefer to donate via Direct Debit.

Help the Cambodian Children is a registered charity in England and Wales #1101594

www.helpthecambodianchildren.org

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2021 in 2021

 

Food Supplies for the Community

While Covid has forced temporary closures, we have been doing our best to keep those in need in our community supplied with rice and fish and other cooking necessities. The inability to feed your family properly is sadly a reality faced by many here. This extra help alleviates a little of the stress felt by families, who are once again facing near total loss of income.

The government are stepping up quarantine measure and beginning their vaccine roll out. We hope for a swift return of our other normal activities soon.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2021 in 2021

 

Learning Outdoors

The new government school year has started here in Cambodia. We have made sure all our students are equipped to attend their new classes and we are helping them get back in the swing of things. To make it a bit easier we have been doing a lot of outdoor activities and learning, to reduce the time the children are sat behind a desk. Gardening, playground story times and science, along with normal games and sport are a regular part of our days now. Learning this was also helps those who find conventional “study” a struggle and allows them to feel more confident in their abilities. It’s also a lot more fun!

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in 2021

 

Back in for the New Year!

After a swift lockdown following a community outbreak of Covid 19, schools have been allowed to reopen again this week (with safety measures in place). Our students were quick to turn back up, eager to learn and play. As they have missed so much schooling this year (along with children all around the world) the extra help we give them here will be all the more important going forward. It is amazing to have them back again and the center full of the chatter and cheer that they bring. That said, some of their classroom etiquette has gone slightly awry after so long away from the school structure, so we will be doing lots of activities to work out frustrations and allow the children to remember how to express themselves again!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2021 in 2020

 

Happy Christmas!

All of us here at the center would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Sadly the center has been forced to temporarily close again (from last week) due to a new outbreak of Covid here in Cambodia. The government have been swift to shut things down and seem to have it under control. We are hoping we should be up and running again soon but will have to delay the annual Christmas party for a while (we hope everyone will still enjoy carols and Christmas dances later in the year as they are well rehearsed!).

This year has been a difficult one for everyone we look toward 2021 and trust that it will bring more luck and happiness to us all!

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2020 in 2020

 

Psychological and Behavioural Therapy Training

While our staff are already fantastic, it is always important to learn new skills and techniques. Something that has always been close to our hearts at Goodwill is the belief in running a center that caters for the students emotions, as well as their education.

Many of our students come from difficult backgrounds. Neglect is especially common, but often is a result of parents/families need to be away from home for long hours to try and find income for the family to live, rather than a lack of care. The stress that is brought on from living on the poverty line also often results in an increase of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Understanding that our students often have problems resulting from these issues and finding ways to help them cope is a very important part of our work.

With this in mind last week we joined Bright Minds Asia for some training in Child Psychology and Behaviour Therapy. They discussed different types of abuse and trauma that children can suffer, how this can affect a child, key signs and behaviours to look out for and methods to help children feel safe and supported. We also looked at some key behavioural issues and therapy techniques to help children be in control of their emotions, understand their relevance and how to express them.

The following day we got to have a nice time exploring Phnom Penh and treating ourselves with a bit of a team building after a few very stressful months. After all, a teachers mental and emotional health is very important too!

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2020 in 2020

 

Getting Back to Business

We are finally getting back on our feet after the Covid shutdown, with children through our doors again. We started slowly with just a few students per day, following the Ministry of Health safety measures carefully, conducting temperature checks, hand sanitizing, disinfecting surfaces and social distancing with limited numbers of students per class.

Working with the Ministry of Social Affairs we have now been given permission to open fully (still following strict safety measures), meaning our centre is once again full of smiles (and lots of noise).

Many new families have moved into are area in the meantime, so we have been introducing them to our services and look forward to seeing them at the center more often from now on.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2020 in 2020

 

Now and Then

Cambodia continues to do well in the battle against Corona, keeping its infection rates very low. Schools are slowly being granted permission to open but with many restrictions in place which are unfeasible for our center due to space and resources. However we have been working with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare who have now granted us permission to open with 40 children in attendance. These  students will come from our most at risk families and will start back at the center following the Pchum Ben holidays. In the mean time we have been having a few students in at the center each day for check ups and some support and continuing to supply food drops to families in the area.

It has been lovely seeing  some of our students faces again and having a catch up. While Sihanoukville is a transient town meaning we have a constant flow of changing students, there are also many families that have been in our area for years and using our services since the beginning. We recently had a look back through our photos so they could see how they have grown.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2020 in 2020

 

During the Shutdown

While schools remain closed the centers staff still have many things to do. Our main priory has been remaining present as a point of contact for any families in need. We have cemented this with extra food drops in the area, along with the provision of soaps, hand sanitisers, masks and most importantly advice.

Many families are already feeling the economic strain of this Covid crisis with livelihoods badly damaged in the tourism industry (beach sellers, moto drivers), the manufacturing industry (shipping/transport of goods) and the construction industry (building sites closed) along with many others. Sadly, it also seems likely that on the economic side, this crisis will still get worse before it gets better and many that were struggling before will find themselves in increasingly desperate situations We are talking closely to our families that have been affected and trying to find practical solutions to help them at this time.

We have also done lots of group (online) training, covering topics including online safety, project based learning, creative thinking, classroom management, child rights and  youth empowerment. The staff have been brilliant and thought of lots of ways they can put what they have learned into their teachings. We are desperate for schools to open so we can try them out!

Aside from this we have spent the time doing some much needed maintenance and deep cleaning of the center, along with making a few new plant and vegetable patches, ready to be used in an environmental project with the students when they return.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2020 in 2020