Monthly Archives: July 2012


Virus closure update

We are trying to find more information about when the center will reopen. We will open as soon as the government has given permission.

Local Business Support

Some of you may have noted a new link at the top of the blog to the Supporters page, along with generous business supporters there are many personal supporters and we thank them all


As always the focus of everything we do is to help the Children from the surrounding villages around the centre. This little girl stunned me the other day, assembling this complex puzzle so quickly it seemed I hadn’t even had time to turn around.

They can do anything, as long as they have opportunities, something we encourage all the time.

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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in 2012


New English Classes

Sokheang currently teaches English lessons through the evening with the occasional invitation for me to help wth “Conversational English“.  It’s one thing to know how to pronounce nouns, verbs etc but to string them together into a coherent sentence can be tricky even if you were raised speaking English as your first language.   We will have to watch out, or we’ll have a whole generation of English Speaking Khmer with Aussie Accents !

Sokheang at evening English classes

At a recent Teacher meeting upon asking what extra we can do, the one thing that seemed to rank highest was extra English lessons for the younger children from age 7,  to allow the one hour of English a week the students receive at public school to be extended.   A quick head count with the villagers had 25 interested before we had started, the enthusiasm for education is astounding after coming from the West.

Why English ? Like it or not it’s the most recognised international language, most non native English speaking countries often have English as their second language and it is the standard language for Science worldwide.  Learning English also offers the Khmers a way to a better life by allowing them entry to higher paid jobs in tourism, hospitality etc where fluency in English is an inevitable requirement as well as attendance at University and any post graduate jobs nearly always requiring fluency in English.  While it’s important for the local Khmers to protect and continue to use there native language, you have to recognise that outside Cambodia it’s hardly used at all.  There’s also numerous studies showing learning a second language helps boost cognitive abilites in other areas.

With that in mind we were able to approach HtCC to see if we could fund the extended classes.  Unfortunately with the increase in the Center’s costs (increased rent etc) HtCC could only commit to $18 a month, a new, qualified teacher was going to cost us $50 a month.  Help Camboida kindly came to the rescue with the extra $32 a month ($384 a year), with a one year commitment.   With that in mind Htcc were able to give the go ahead to expand the curriculum and we’re excited to be able to get new English classes organised.

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in 2012


EV71 Virus shuts Cambodian Schools


All Cambodian preschools and primary schools have been ordered to shut over health fears in relation to the recent deaths of 55 young Children in Cambodia.  The Goodwill Center will of course comply and be shut as well.  Currently according to Government guidelines, we will be able to open again on 25 July but this may change.  EV71 is the suspected virus leading to a deadly Hand, Foot and Mouth (not the same as the bovine form) .

More information is available here

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in 2012


Villagers using the Center and an updated schedule

Village Children

The center is open for any of the local children. It gives them a safe place to play (they have no public parks, gardens etc) as well as access to toys and art and craft.  You have to remember the children’s families are very poor, with no access to toys and puzzles for them to play with.  We have many children that come all the time, and some that come and go for a variety of reasons. We also have many children that have grown with the centre and stayed for years.

New Center attendee !

Arts ‘n Crafts

Finished Items !


Here’s the newly developed schedule for the centre. You can see that we cover English, computer classes, dance and theatre but we also cover first aid and hygiene. Each Thursday we give the children a toothbrush and toothpaste and sit with them to show them how to brush properly. They then take the toothbrush and paste home to their family. During the first aid sessions Lungdy checks for wounds which need dressing and asks each child if they have any sore teeth or other issues. When the children need emergency care we take them to the dentist or doctor.

Center Schedule Page 1

Center Schedule – Page_2

or you can download it here

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in 2012


Donation Boxes

A couple of generous local businesses have allowed us to put a donation box in their place of business, we thank them kindly for that.  Of course the Small Hotel has always been the main business sponsor,

The Small Hotel – Donation Box

with Henrik helping start the centre but it’s always great to have help from a variety of locals and spread the load.

Tony at Charlie Harpers Bar has been wonderful

Charlie Harpers bar staff beside the Donation Box at Charlie Harpers Bar

as has Casey at Maybe Later Bar

Maybe Later Bar – Donation Box

of course two other local business should not go unmentioned, Monkey Republic and Scuba Nation who donate regularly.

The Center

We had a new child show up the other day, someone who had never been to the Center before, after a few visits he came out of his shell and I decided to go with him to meet his Grandmother, as both his parents are dead.  All five of them live in a single room “shack’ the size of a small room in a western house.

Grandmother and family

I am hoping with a little encouragement, all the children come down and use the Center.

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in 2012


Where do we fit into the public school system

How do we fit into the local state schooling system

The children attend the public state school from 7am-11am OR 1pm-5pm until grade 7 , yes that’s a whole 4 hours a day and is why the Center is very important for the younger children in the village. We provide extra daily Khmer, English and computer lessons. Being at the center under the care of the Khmer staff gives them a safe place to go when their parents are out trying to earn a meagre income, while teaching the children valuable motor skills through exercise, ball games and dance.  We are also investigating if we can afford to add another evening English class for the younger children as the current classes are for children and adults with more advanced English.

After Grade 7 they do 7 – 11am and then 1 -5pm, that is, they attend both classes

Of course we also provide education to the older teenagers and Adults around the center, computer and English classes primarily.

It’s all voluntary and often the Children have to work to help their parents earn a living but we get new young children attending from time to time, which is encouraging.  We always make sure we visit the families of new Children, along with an interpreter to make sure they know what is happening.


Being stymied for funds and access to materials often forces you to experiment with different sorts of education, we thought this TED talk had a powerful message

We are of course really aware of the lack of Internet Connection at the Center (aside from the single cellular connection on the office Computer, other wise we wouldn’t even have this)  but even more fundamentally, we lack access to reliable power.  For instance, the power was off to the area for 12 hours yesterday, 6 the day before, 8 hours the day before that… you can see the pattern and those who have been a long time in Sihanoukville say they have never seen the power outages so bad and this has been going on for months so far, with no end in sight.  It would appear the Town is growing faster then the planned power upgrades which will come, some day, maybe… So before we can even consider adding Internet to the Centers computers (3/4 of the time we need to cancel computer classes because of a lack of power) we need to think about power reliability and and what to do, of course a solar system with batteries would be great but also very costly and well outside our budget.

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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in 2012