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!
Category Archives: 2012
Sihanoukville is gradually becoming a cleaner place thanks to some great new initiatives by local businesses and organisations. Compared to a few years ago you can really see the difference with far less rubbish strew about on the roads and beaches but here is still a long way to go. On our recent beach trip we made sure we did a big clean up first to help the effort.
The kids were great and more than happy to get some cleaning done. We made sure they had lots of fun after, swimming and playing on the (sparklingly clean) beach. It is always fantastic to get away from the center for the day and do something completely different. As always, everyone had a great time!
Khmer New Year is a very important time here in Cambodia. Many of our children travel to visit family, or likewise have family come to visit them. It is a time to be with loved ones and celebrate the year that has passed and the year to come. People make offerings of fruit and drinks to Buddha at which they must pray everyday for 3 days to bring luck and happiness to the family. They will also normally (obviously not everyone is Buddhist or follows the traditions) visit one of the pagodas, to pray to the ancestors of the family.
Every year to mark it the Goodwill Center has a party, and this year was no exception. We played lots of games and had lots of dancing topped off by a feast of fruit at the end. As a change to our usual leaders of ceremonies, our newest member of staff, Srey Touch, also took a turn at being on the microphone and was fantastic at it. All the children had a really good time and the staff went off happy and excited for their week off!
The time has come to bid a very fond farewell to two of our students, Vann (far left) and Puth (center right). Both have attended our evening classes (both computer and English) for many years and have been fantastic students, both very bright and hardworking. The parting is not a sad one however as the two have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to move to live with a relative in France, opening up a new world of opportunities for them. Everyone at the Center wishes them the very best of luck in this new adventure!
We have been extremely lucky recently to receive a huge amount of supplies for our center from A Heart For Cambodia. This group filled an entire container full of desks, computers and clothes and arranged for it to be shipped over to Cambodia. With importing goods normally being a struggle we did not have the highest hopes that the container would be released from the port particularly quickly, but luckily after only a few days (and with the very hard work of Runny, an AHFC contact here in Sihanoukville) the supplies were free.
The first step was to unload it all and sort through it. Luckily we had lots of help. AHFC, myself and Runny had earmarked different charities in the area which we though could benefit from the supplies and we went about dividing everything up. There was so much stuff we had to take it in a few loads up to the center. We went with the tables and clothes first.
We used the new desks to replace our old ones (which have been passed onto another charity). The main bonus is that we can easily stack these, giving us so much more space so we are not on top of each other all the time! It will make our lives a million times easier and nicer.
Clothes were distributed (along with school bags) to each of our students (along with a few items for adults in their families). It was like Christmas and great to see all the smiling faces with their shiny new clothes. They were all very grateful for their new things. A huge thank you to everyone who donated both their possessions and their time!
With their fantastic new space to practice in we decided our hard working football team deserved some new kits. They are all practicing so hard and are getting to play against lots of different teams now in different friendly matches and in weekend competitions.With taking on some new members our age range is now very spread, so although they all train together, in matches we now have a younger team and an older one. Sok Morng continues to do a fantastic job in coaching them, both in football skills and behavior, teamwork and confidence.
To go with our new paint job we decided it was time for a few more nice pictures. Some of our older students took up the task and came up with some lovely pieces.
The US Navy have just been in town and called in to help us with some much needed DIY. They were here for 5 days and what they achieved in the time was fantastic. They have fixed and extended our roof outside providing us with so much more space, sheltered from the sun and rain which is so important here. The little kids finally have somewhere to play without getting on top of each other. They have fixed our pipes at the back so we no longer have leeks and refitted the shower heads so we can get on with headlice treatments. They have also repainted the whole of the inside of the school, making it so much brighter and seem so much bigger.
A big thank you to Tessa Fletcher and Maciek for their continued support without which we would have been unable to afford the supplies and to the US Navy, who kindly donated lots of the materials too and who worked their socks off to make our center better. The kids and staff all love it!
To top off our face-lift, Kolab and some of the kids have been spending a lot of time doing up the garden. A few months in and the efforts have paid off and it is now looking beautiful!
So it is time to say a huge congratulations to Ney (one of our long term teachers) who has just given birth to two beautiful baby girls. She will be off for a number of months to take care of our communities newest members and we wish her all the best while she is away.
It is also time for a huge hello to our newest member of staff Srey Touch. She has joined our team to cover for Ney while she is away (taking care of Ney’s students) and then to move to a new role for the center and become a social worker. Once Ney is back Touch will join with M’lop Tapang to undertake the training and will then work closely within the community to help address the many issues which families have here and ensure our center is providing the best possible services for them.
She is fitting in fantastically so far and the children are already very fond of her. A great new addition to our Goodwill Clan.
Rainy season is nearly back around, the year seams to have passed so quickly! So before the clouds role in we decided it was time for another beach trip. As is the routine we started with a beach clean up. It had just been a Khmer holiday, meaning the beach had been very busy so there was lots of rubbish. The children all joined in without a grumble and we got lots done.
Once the boring stuff was out the way it was into the water with the inflatables for lots of splashing, football on the beach and sand castles. The children loved it! They get to go to the beach so rarely that they really make the most of it and enjoy every minute.
Once appetites were sufficiently built up it was into the Small Beach Bar for some delicious food and then out to wait for the van to pick us up. The children were all fantastically well behaved and we were lucky enough to have a few of our older students come along to help us watch them all, so the day was fun for us all. None of us can wait till next time.
A huge thank you to M’lop Tapang who organised a fantastic football tournament over the last few days. It was for under thirteen year olds and there were 10 teams playing. The older members of the team came along to support too, along with a few friends and family members so there was a lovely atmosphere over the whole three days.
Our kids did really well, finishing fourth overall after loosing in the semi finals. Our earlier results were all resounding victories with lots of goals so all the players have come away feeling really proud of themselves. They are improving all the time and we are sure it wont be long before they are lifting the cup for themselves.
This years Khmer New Year celebrations took place last week. As is tradition the staff had organised lots of Khmer games to play, with races, dances, eating competitions and lots of pot breaking.
Sadly this year the rain won out and the persistent downpours kept lots of the family members who normally come to celebrate with us sheltering at home. The children didn’t let it get to them though so we squashed under our main roof and watched the games from there. A few braved the wet to begin with, and by the end none of them really seemed to notice, as long as lots of jelly was being given out as prizes! We had the traditional table of fruit which was divided up for all the children to share so they got to eat lots!
Once the youngsters had cleared away the staff and adult students stayed behind for a party of our own with lots of dancing, before the staff headed off for a well deserved weeks break!
It was a lovely day despite the rain and the children went home filled to the brim with fruit and happy from a day well spent.
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.