Saturday, February 18, 2012

Family Participation in JWOC's Free Classes Activities

Meet Peng, Rany and Suphet; a family that benefit from the activities and lessons that JWOC’s Free Classes Project provides. From Monday to Friday Peng (daddy) attends a computer class from 9-10am where he learns about MS Word, Internet, Excel and Powerpoint.

Rany (mummy) participates in our Sewing Course, developing basic sewing skills such as drawing patterns, using a sewing machine, cutting and hemming. Her lessons are from 8.30 – 11.00am.

And lastly we have Suphet who is almost 2 years old. He likes to spend time with Peng and Rany, exploring JWOC’s facilities, especially the library. Over the last couple of months, Suphet has become more relaxed and confident playing supervised but by himself and exploring the toys in the library. He now waves and says goodbye in English. Peng loves showing Suphet new toys and activities.

Peng can be seen washing Suphet’s hands and feet. Suphet is already learning good hygiene practices at a young age, something which JWOC advocates and that is vital here in Cambodia.

Once he is clean, Peng and Suphet spend time reading books together. Suphet is very inquisitive and Peng tries to teach him English vocabulary as well as reading him stories in Khmer.

However, with his new found independence Suphet likes to make his own choice of books.

It is really lovely to see this family enjoying and benefiting from the facilities and activities at JWOC. If you are interested in supporting the Free Classes Project to benefit more families please visit our website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Laos Scholarship Student Team Building

At the end of 2011 Nicole and the Laos students had a great team building day. In this post Nicole introduces the day and shares the experience with photographs.

On the tenth of December JWOC Laos Scholarship Students of past and present joined together for a fun filled day of teambuilding activities. The day started off with all students joining together at the JWOC office in the morning. I started with a speech about the importance of the JWOC team and its benefits beyond the years they are Scholarship Students. Hmong Her, who graduated in June 2011, was awarded a certificate of completion, a JWOC Graduate T-shirt and a CD filled with pictures of his last two years with JWOC.

Two of our past graduates Kim and Hmong each gave a speech about their experiences with JWOC and an update on what they had been up to since they left college and JWOC. Following the speeches were activities, which incorporated trust, communication, strategic planning and problem solving aspects.

After the activities were finished, the group piled into a truck with drums, a guitar and food for a picnic lunch on the Nam Khan River. The day was a bit cloudy and cool so everyone bundled up together for the ride and sang songs along the way. Once the group arrived the students took the opportunity to take photos with the JWOC camera while other set up the picnic lunch. After the plentiful lunch was consumed the JWOC team sat together and shared stories and sang songs with one another until heading back to town in the afternoon.

Enjoy some photos from our JWOC Laos Team Building Day…

Hmong Giving Speech
Hmong Her showing pictures of his activities following his graduation for Teacher Training College ( TTC). During his speech prior to discussing his travels, Hmong said this about JWOC, “JWOC gives me the opportunity to learn more beyond what I learned at TTC. Learn how to be a better person and teacher. Experience and learn from what others think and do”.

Discussing Strategy for Balloons in the Air
Students were split into teams for the activities for the day. The first warm up game was Balloons in the Air. For this game the person must say the name of a body part and a person’s name in the group. That person then must hit the balloon with that body part. How long they can do this without the balloon touching the ground is timed and the team with the longest time wins. The students were all laughs during the game. So much fun!

Team A playing Balloons in the Air. This team ended up winning this activity with the best time, but I think that was because they pretty much only said hand or foot for the body part to use.

Team B worked in a much smaller circle and used all different body parts for this round of Balloons in the Air

Bouakham was one of the first to attempt the obstacle course. Each team had to blindfold a team member and guide them to the finish line by only communicating. Even though the obstacle course changed with each participant, the students improved each time on their time to the finish line.

Hmong leads Neng in the obstacle course
Team A uses the tactic to only have one person talk to the blinded person. Here Hmong her guides Neng to glory, beating Team B in time.

Soubanh and Kim each attempting to get to the finish line first!

Team A urging Bouakham to trust them by taking a huge step forward to walk over the obstacle

Watch out for that chair Lue! If the blinded person touches one of the objects then time is added to the time in which they finished the course. The team with the lowest amount of time wins!

Just a few minutes to create…
For the marble track activity the teams were given five minutes to discuss how they would get the marble from one side of the course with obstacles to the other without touching it and using unconnected pipes.

Kim is waiting patiently to feel the marble drop in her tube and then try to move the pipes to the bucket without dropping it.

Team B demonstrates the success of working together and communicating.

Soubanh leads us in song
Soubanh brings along the JWOC guitar for our picnic to the river banks of the Nam Khan River. What better way to enjoy the ride then to sing along as we travel in the back of a truck on a cool, cloudy day?

The trip to the location of our picnic was about 30 minutes so we all bundled up for the ride.

Yummy traditional Lao food for lunch
Our picnic lunch on the banks of the Nam Khan River consisted of some yummy traditional Lao food. We had grilled fish stuffed with lemongrass, pickled and boiled veggies, bamboo soup, spicy dipping sauce, pickled pork, pork laap and the essential sticky rice.

Everyone enjoys lunch together beside the rapids and rolling green hills.

Recently we received a camera from JWOC in Cambodia so that the students could have the opportunity to take pictures and today was the first time they used it and created their own photos. Here is a great one with Khor, Lue and Soubanh. The props and physical additions are inventive!

Lue takes a picture of Country Director, Nicole Long with Vandy and Neng Thor.

Here is a fantastic picture taken by Khor.

Phaeng braves the water
Unfortunately Lao’s winter had arrived and our picnic wasn’t as warm and sunny as we hoped. We had planned to go swimming, but it was too cold. That didn’t stop Phaeng, JWOC Laos Assistant Country Director, from jumping in!

Vanhdee was one of the students who provided music for our sing along at the river. The Lao love to sing songs, no matter where they are.

Hmong Her shows off his pride by wearing his JWOC graduate shirt. Way to go Hmong!

All the students helped getting our lunch ready. Here is Bouakham slicing up a fresh papaya for our dessert!

We are so proud to expand our JWOC team every year. The students are vital to carrying out our mission and other projects. Team JWOC!

If you'd like to find out more about how the Scholarship Programme works take a look here.

Monday, February 06, 2012

An Introduction to Sam Oth

Scholarship student Sam Oth is in his final year at university, in this blog post he talks about his life and his hopes for the future. In reading you'll find out more about the impact a JWOC scholarship can have and the changes it brings.

My Background

My name is Neth Sam Oth and I am 28 years old. I was born in Sarmor villag in Svay Rieng Province. I have four brothers in my family and I am the first son. In 2001 I left my hometown to go to study in Battambang and I lived there for 5 years. After that I left Battambang to go to Siem Reap to continue my study from 2006 to present.

My Study

In 2003 I completed Buddhist Primary School in Battambang and in 2006 I finished Buddhist Secondary School. In 2009 I completed Buddhist High School in Siem Reap. At that time I was very happy because I received scholarship from JWOC to study at university. I am now studying at Build Bright University in Faculty of Business Administration and in the field of Project Management, I’m in Year 4 Semester I. I always have done well at school because I studied hard and have strong commitment with study. I also got experience from JWOC‘s workshop, volunteering with Clean Water Project at JWOC and my full time job.

My Impression of JWOC’s Clean Water Project

Sam Oth conducting filter training

After I passed scholarship at JWOC I became a volunteer Clean Water Project Officer until present. The project is a very interesting project because it helps me and communities people a lot. When I started to work as a volunteer Clean Water Project Officer at JWOC and I got many benefits. Firstly, I knew the process of clean water project from the beginning to ending. Secondly, I got clean water project training and improved my work performance. Thirdly, I received experience of a job and upgraded myself to be better. Furthermore, I have self-confidence because during my work as a volunteer I can be a assistant , presenter or photographer and so on. In addition to this, community people have clean water to drink and they have enough water to use in their family.

My Full Time Job

I am now a non resident children educator at Sangkheum Center for Children in Chey village Sangkhat Teuk Ville , Siem Reap Town .(

My Future Plan

After my graduation I would like to work in an international organization, especially in a role related to project management. Furthermore, I want to learn more how to write a funding proposal to help raise money to help my community. I really want to communicate with someone who has the same or similar idea in order to cooperate together to make my community have more development.

To find out more about the Scholarship Programme and how you can get involved in changing a life take a look here. To find out more about the Clean Water Project and watch our video click here.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Community Liaison and Assistance - activity update.

The new Community Liaison and Assistance Project is now up and running thanks to your support. Developed as part of our response to the extended flooding at the end of 2011this project has two aims-

1- To provide needed recovery assistance to villages affected by flooding.
2- To provide information and support to allow local people to utilize the free or low cost services and facilities offered by NGOs and government.

In December we recruited a dedicated project manager to run this project. Va has three years community projects experience and a passion for making a difference.

One of Va’s first tasks has been carrying out needs assessments in the rural communities we work with. By interviewing the commune chief, village chiefs and households we were able to collect valuable information about what recovery assistance is required.

As one always should we went into these interviews with no fixed ideas as to what we might find but we did have a few ideas at the back of our minds. Maybe it’s vegetable seeds that are needed for re-planting? Or school uniforms as money will be tight? Or loans to establish small businesses to counteract the loss of harvesting work?

However one answer came back over and over – we need the road repaired. The road really is the lifeline, connecting the small villages to each other and to the town. There’s no point providing school uniforms if children can’t get to the school. No point encouraging small enterprises if people can’t get to the market.

At the moment the road is passable on foot, bicycle and motorbike as long as you go very slowly. Amongst other difficulties this means students cannot afford the time to attend school, travelling to the market takes more than double the time it should, those who labor in the town have to leave much earlier and return home much later and getting a patient to even the closest clinic is an arduous task. While we were interviewing we were told of an incident where a pregnant lady had to give birth on the road as progress towards the clinic was so slow. (Patients are carried in a hammock hung on a bamboo pole carried between two people.)

Making the decision to prioritize road building we set about organizing the next steps. We secured the cooperation of the local authorities and fixed the work schedule. As with our previous road repairing work we will be using a food for work scheme.

Providing paid work in the village is an important aspect of the road repairing activities, doubling their impact. Our surveying found the average household income in the villages to be well below the average, at around $350 per year and that 57% of families had lost rice crops in the flooding. Distributing rice in return for work allows the selected adults, the poorest in the villages, to better provide for their families.

Work underway

The first finished stretch of road

We anticipate the repairing of this first road will take two weeks. After that time we will be monitoring the use of the road to gauge the impact of the activity. We’ll also be checking the road’s condition, making any further repairs as needed.

Through carrying out the needs assessments and starting this road repair activity we know that although the flooding has now mostly subsided there is still work to do. The two aims of the project support those who have become more vulnerable due to the disaster by providing them with the infrastructure, knowledge and tools to make a positive change.

If you would like to support our ongoing Community Liaison and Assistance work you can donate here.

To see our relief work during the flooding click here.

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