Saturday, November 17, 2012

Making a difference from afar at Thanksgiving

As hard as it is to believe, November is here again and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. For the first time in 10 years I am actually celebrating Thanksgiving here in the US, a strange experience after years of trying desperately to find a turkey dinner in Cambodia! The truth is that I’ve struggled to write this letter because living in California again I feel further from the amazing projects and daily inspiration of JWOC. Then I realized, this is how our donors and supporters feel!

 It’s hard when I’m here to remember the villages that didn’t have clean water, but always had a smile; the scholarship students who every time they saw me ran up and told me about their latest accomplishment and the hundreds of students that flock into our school to study English, learn basic IT or just to read a book in our peaceful and clean library. Like everyone I’m consumed by my own kids’ lives, my work, getting dinner on the table and in the day- to-day business of life, and I forget the everyday struggle so many people face in Southeast Asia and the amazing work that JWOC does to help them better their lives.

This year alone we’ve brought clean water to 13,000 children in Siem Reap through our Clean Water for Schools initiative. We’ve had over 700 students a week pass through our gates and attend our classes or enjoy our library, we’ve given 36 new scholarships to students who otherwise would have no chance of going to university and expanding their horizons further than they or their parents ever imagined. All of our projects continue to grow in strength and impact communities in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Writing this I’m reminded of how proud I am of what we’ve accomplished.  I say ‘we’ because without our donors Brandon and I would just have had an idea, nothing more, it’s because of you that we were able to take that idea and see it grow beyond what we ever thought possible!

This letter is a thank you to you and a heartfelt plea to also remember the communities JWOC is a part of. Like you I no longer have a daily reminder of the work we do for the people of Southeast Asia, but also like you, I’ve been touched by them, by their perseverance, by their gratitude and by their smiles. I look forward to going back and seeing first-hand all the work JWOC is doing, but for now, please join me in going online and donating so our projects can continue and we can make a difference from afar.

Happy Thanksgiving and Many Blessings,

JWOC Founder

P.S. If you are already thinking ahead to buying holiday presents, remember JWOC Gifts – they are a great way to show you care! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sreylin shares her story.

 A recent JWOC Graduate, Sreylin Chum, shares the experiences she had whilst volunteering for four years in JWOC’s Free Classes Project.  In this post she discusses the knowledge she gained, the opportunities it provided, and her future goals and aspirations. To find out more about JWOC’s Scholarship Programme click here

  I had been teaching many different children and adults classes while I was volunteering at JWOC. From what I remember, I had been teaching both children and adults classes for about three years and only adult classes for the last year before I graduated from university. It means, I had been teaching in Free Classes project at JWOC for the whole four years at university.

I have learnt quite a lot from my volunteering at JWOC such as, teaching skills/ techniques, lesson planning for children and adults class, time and classroom management, students monitoring and controlling and student’s error correction especially using student centre approach etc. Besides direct teaching, I had been attending almost every teacher development workshop so that I have absorbed a lot of knowledge related to teaching. I believe it was vital. Moreover, I know how to use teaching resources and create games, extra activities and materials and interact with my students very well.

I feel that four years teaching English experience at JWOC is fantastic because it could turn me to be a professional teacher plus I studied English at university so it has helped me to improve my English and my teaching a lot before graduating. I also wanted to volunteer with other projects at JWOC, just time flied so I couldn’t change or volunteer with the different project. Anyway, I was so glad to be a teacher at JWOC. I love teaching students at JWOC very much because it was the best memory. I cannot describe how much love JWOC and I have learnt from JWOC because it is more than you can say or tell.

Now, I am working as a coordinator for young adult preparation and integration program at Anjali House in Siem Reap.

By volunteering at JWOC, it definitely makes a big change to my life and helps me find a better job. Without volunteering experiences at JWOC, I would not be able to work in my position today. Now, with my work I teach life skills and English to young adults so it is a great opportunity for me to use the knowledge I have gained from volunteering at JWOC and at university.

My dream is to run a small NGO, providing all the children in the countryside the same opportunities to access to their education in order to help reduce the illiteracy in Cambodia or I want to work in the international non- profit organization for my future job.

JWOC is an amazing place to train me to be a professional teacher and give students the same opportunities to study. I can say that, JWOC gives me everything I do have now and I won’t be able to forget JWOC and what JWOC has provided me especially, I had made many friends and helped teaching hundreds of students. Gaining and Sharing at the same time at JWOC, Isn’t it marvelous?

All in all, I would like to appreciate for all support from JWOC and I personally believe that JWOC always makes a difference! With a great slogan “See a problem, solve a problem”.

By Sreylin Chum

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Stories from Community Liaison and Assistance

In this post we look at two of the people helped by JWOC’s Community Liaison and Assistance Project. This project was started last year in response to the extended flooding that hit Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Our activities were initially relief work but as the water went away we started to work more with recovery efforts such as repairing roads. Through our ongoing Liaison work, matching people in need with services and facilities offered by other NGOs, we are able to help strengthen communities’ ability to cope with emergencies by improving their food supplies and economic situation. We can’t prevent emergencies but we can help to make families less vulnerable.  

Noeurn lives in Antangkun, a small village 30 kilometeres ( 18 miles) from Siem Reap. Like most people in Cambodia she is a rice farmer, working alongside her husband. Noeurn has tried growing vegetables at home in the past using techniques learnt from her parents but often the results weren’t good and she felt her efforts were not rewarded.

Since joining JWOC’s Home Vegetable Garden activities Noeurn’s success with vegetable production has increased greatly. She said “I received technical skills training and materials assistance from the project and now I am skillful in vegetable growing”. Using the materials and knowledge provided by JWOC Noeurn is able to grow enough vegetables to both enhance her family’s diet and have surplus to sell at the market.

JWOC’s Home Vegetable Garden activities involve practical training sessions on all aspects of vegetable production. The participative sessions are run by a local expert who has long experience in training villagers about modifications to traditional farming techniques that make a real difference to production.

To see pictures from one of the training sessions please take a look here.

A Chance at a New Livelihood

Touch is 20 years old and from Peam village a rural village in Siem Reap Province. She is from a rice farming family but was keen to develop her vocational skills so she could start a new job that would earn her more money. Our Liaison team worked with Touch to find out more about she wanted to learn and were able to enroll her in a free sewing course.

Touch is very happy with the new course and all she is learning and she shows real commitment to making a change for herself. She told the team “Sewing skills are useful for me to run my own shop in my home-village to make money for supporting myself and family. Even though the training place is very far from my home-village, I don’t mind. I learnt a lot from this course- not only sewing skill also business concepts from trainer.”

The Liaison team continues to match many people with services including training courses, language classes and medical assistance.  

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