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Author Archives: Goodwill Center, Sihanoukville

The “Development” of Sihanoukville

The rains have arrived in Sihanoukville and as predicted by most, but ignored by those who could have averted it, they have brought mass flooding to the area on scales never seen in the past. This is because flood plains and other natural drainage areas have been carelessly filled in to be built upon, before alternative watercourses have been made.

After a few days of heavy rain, vast areas of the city were thigh deep in water, including the main center of the largest NGO, M’lop Tapang. This is dangerous and costly in itself. but combined with the fact this water is contaminated by the rubbish and sewage now covering the streets and canals of the city, it is downright scary! People will become sick.

While we are lucky our center is built on stilts and on a hillside, our playground still gets its fair share of water, as do many of our families houses, as previous watercourses down the hills have been blocked. We are working closely with families to help them best protect their homes.

The rains will pass but the underlying issues facing the city will remain. It is impossible to deny the fact that the city is being sold off and built over at rates that are unsupportable for the infrastructure in place. Waste management, electricity supply, road and traffic conditions and (somewhat ironically) water supply are woefully inadequate for the needs of the growing city. Combine this with the fact that families are being pushed from their homes as land is sold off, or because rents are sky rocketing, that food and amenity prices are increasing and jobs in the poorest sector (small shops, beach sellers, moto dops) are disappearing, makes for a pretty bleak picture for many Cambodian families living here.

Sadly, as is so often the case, it is the poorest of people who will feel these effects the worse. Many families are faced with a difficult choice; either move out of the city back to home provinces, but moves can be costly and opportunities in the countryside are fewer, both in terms of employment and education, or, stay in the city with circumstances becoming more difficult on an almost daily basis.

There is however a glimmer of hope in Sihanoukville’s new governor, Kuoch Chamroeun. Tasked with the cleaning up of the city, he has so far closed building sites operating without permits, started the task of widening canals for drainage, and fined the company in charge of rubbish collection for their failures. We must now wait and see whether these changes can make any real difference or whether it is already a case of too little too late.

Photo from CNE

Photo from Huy Bunleng

Photo from Mlop Tapang

 

Photo from Kuoch Chamroeun

Photo from Mlop Tapang. New Govenor Kuoch Chamroeun widening canals

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Posted by on August 26, 2019 in 2019

 

Olympic Treats

Our School Olympic days remain a firm favourite amongst our students and staff. Sokheang especially, comes up with increasingly fun/silly activities in which to compete and adds brilliant commentary throughout proceedings to keep the children laughing. The tasks are always varied and require different skills to complete, so it is not always the “athletes” coming out on top. This means all the children get a chance to feel good about themselves.

With town changing we are getting more limited with our winners trips out, but we are still managing to find places! Most recently we went for ice-cream followed by playground games and our next trip is planned for an indoor swimming pool. Good to keep the fun coming

!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2019 in 2019

 

Community Work

The work we carry out within the community is as important as ever at the moment. We have been increasing the number of food drops we carry out in order to help combat the hardships currently being faced. It also gives us a great chance to talk to new families in the area. Many are moving in, to live on building sites (as labourers), and, while only here temporarily, it is important to make them welcome and ensure any children with them are still able to access some form of education.

As well as this, M’lop Tapang (the largest NGO in town) have still been coming to our center every few weeks to talk to our students about a variety of topics from home safety to alcohol and drug abuse. Being able to talk openly about such things is very important in a place where many issues go unnoticed or are hidden away due to stigma. It makes children aware they are able to ask for help when needed, a valuable lesson for life.

 

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in 2019

 

Building Relationships

Some of our students have very turbulent home lives and often (for many varying reasons, often outside of their families control) do not get enough attention at home. One of our favourite things about the centre is the closeness of the staff to their students (something that has been the case since the beginning). All the members of our team have been working here for many years, and over that time have developed strong relationships between each other and the children. While remaining completely professional the staff have ensured the students know they are in a safe place and have people in which they can confide. This closeness helps to provide much needed emotional support for our students, building their confidence and providing them with a sense of security.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2019 in 2019

 

Crafting

We try to spend a lot of time doing craft activities at the center. It gives the children a chance to use their imaginations and creativity, as well as improving their fine motor skills. They always love it! Supplies in Cambodia (beyond the basics) are harder to find so we often rely on the generosity of others who bring/send things for us to use from home. We have been very lucky this year and had some wonderful art and craft extras gifted to us, so we have had lots of fun!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2019 in 2019

 

Christmas Party and New Year Trip

After finally managing to clear our playground we held our annual Christmas party. We played lots of games and the children put on 3 different dances, all of which were fantastic. Kolab, with the help of the children, had once again created some incredible decorations so the center looked great! We were kindly donated two bikes which we decided to give away in the raffle, resulting in lots of very excited children! As always our students were fantastic, well behaved and helpful and all left with big grins on their faces.

The staff were given a few (well deserved) days off between Christmas and New Year to recharge their batteries. We went on a day trip together down the coast as a bonus for all their hard work. It was lovely to have some time together! We are back into the swing of it now and over the coming few weeks we hope to extend our garden areas and finish painting the playground. Bring on 2019!

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2019 in 2019

 

Almost a Spring Clean

All the current development in Sihanoukville has brought a lot of dust and dirt to the roads. This is heightened in our area as we are based opposite (and downhill of) a quarry and building site. This positioning has meant that every time there is heavy rainfall the centre is flooded with sand and dirt (luckily only the playground as rooms are elevated). With what we believed to be the end of rainy season behind us, we began a good spring clean. All the children helped and it was lovely making the center nice and bright again.

Sadly, and uncharacteristically for this time of year, there  has been huge rainfall in the last two days, bringing in lots more mud, so our playground is back to square one! We are hoping this will dry out quickly so we can remove it in time for our Christmas party! We are lucky to have so many helping hands around that we are sure to get something sorted! We will not be defeated!

 

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2018 in 2018