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Thursday, July 24, 2008

West Point Cadets Volunteer AIAD experience in Siem Reap - Andrew



I came to JWOC with very little understanding of Cambodia as a whole, what the situation was like in Siem Reap, or what to expect from the volunteer program here. After spending more than two weeks working with JWOC and its various programs, I will say that it is one of the most interesting and valuable experiences I’ve ever had. Coming from a military background, I didn’t quite understand how an NGO did business or how one could impact a community in need. Teaching English classes at Wat Chork, seeing micro finance in action, and embedding into the Weal squatter village for 48 hours broadened my horizons and afforded me a greater well of experiences on which to fall back.

Journeys Within Our Community is a very effective organization that is continually expanding its outreach into Siem Reap and other Southeast Asian countries. I was impressed with both the permanent staff and the corps of volunteer scholarship students that aid the programs. The amount of difference that a small donation to JWOC can make in Cambodia is astounding. Resources used effectively are allowing many Cambodians crammed into the edges of emerging tourist destination Siem Reap to break out of the cycle of poverty that gripes the majority of the populace here. I honestly feel that my time helping with JWOC’s programs has made a difference in many people’s lives and that JWOC as an organization will continue to do so in the future.

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