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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Our Free Classes Program Manager, Somit,  gives thanks to those that made it possible for JWOC's recent trip to the U.S. where both him and Vantha, our Scholarship Program Manager,  got the chance to travel and speak about the essential work that JWOC does empowering communities through educational and economic opportunities in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

 

 

It was a great opportunity for me to be traveling to the U.S to do fundraising and meet JWOC’s existing and potential donors. It was the first time for me to travel abroad and even the first experience of being on the plane, so you can imagine how excited I was! Here I would like to share the great experiences and the impressions of the trip as well as the impact that the trip has on my life and work at JWOC.






First of all is about my impressions. Everything impressed and amazed me. Roads are busy and big as well as driving is faster but the traffic is good – it is rare for traffic accidents, and most drivers follow and respect traffic law. In a state or city, traffic is not only on the roads but also underground – I cannot imagine how the underground rails were built even across rivers. Buildings are big and tall, especially in New York City. It was the first time I have seen such tall buildings. People are busy and rush all over; especially in the city (people sometimes eat food while walking to work), but the standard of living is high. Last but not least, education in the US, which I have seen and observed, amazed me. There is enough equipment, facilities and materials for both teachers and students to access to their teaching and learning practices. Students still can continue their education with replacement schools even though they have problems at their state school; for example, a girl who has a baby or is pregnant still can continue their studies, whereas here that cannot happen.


  The main thing the team and I did during the trips is presentations. I did a lot of presentations for different audiences like early age children, high school students, and adults having different experiences.  I have learned a lot from doing those presentations. I also joined 4 events hosted by our donors and JWOC’s board members so I had chance to speak to a lot of people to share about our lives and education in Cambodia, and I learned a lot from them about their cultures and livelihoods. Being on subway trains was also a great experience. Many people there use this kind of transport for traveling instead of cars to reduce traffic jams on roads. Meals there are big! I was served very big meals all the time I went to restaurants. I tried different kind of food there. I appreciate the ways they make breakfast there – it is fast and easy to make. Toast, bacon and fruits are my favorite.














One more thing, the team and I were brought to the 29th floor of a building in New York– it was the first time for me to be in a  high building, and I can see different views from the building. What is more about the experience is going to watch American Baseball game at Yankee Stadium. The stadium was crowded, and audience was very excited about the match. We ate hot dogs and I bought a big bag of pop corn for all – it was a lot of fun. They are not only the experiences I would share but there is a lot more.



Last is about the impact that it might have on my life and the difference to the work I am doing may be the result of the wonderful experiences. All the experiences I have gained there have changed some of my ideas about education and the ways I would prepare for my life and my community; for instance, keeping life busier and thinking more proactively . The experience has helped me improve a lot like presentation skills, public speaking skills, and knowledge about fundraising and donor relations; that is very useful for me.



 I could see what I used to imagine and saw on movies. I will share everything I experienced with friends, relatives and JWOC’s beneficiaries. I will also use what I have learned from experiences to improve my work at JWOC. And once again, I would like to give a big thanks to all supporters of JWOC which gave me a wonderful opportunity to do the Fundraising Tour and all board members, especially Philippa and Andrea, who helped us to their best and made us feel warm and welcome while we were there as well as all friends and donors who provided us home for us to stay and great meals.

A huge thank-you to all our supporters!





 For more information about our programs or if you wish to make a donation towards our Free Classes Program, or any of our other programs Click here




 

 






Saturday, October 26, 2013

Emergency Flood Relief Update

Flood update — JWOC delivers much needed relief

Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) has been working to deliver much needed relief to Tropeang Ses and Veal Villages.
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On Saturday October 12, the JWOC staff worked together to put health and hygiene packs together ready for distribution by the Clean Water and Community Liaison and Assistance (CL&A) teams on Sunday.  Each pack contains 3 bars of soap, 2 10ml iodine bottles and 8 clear water tablets.
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Community Liaison and Assistance manager Konthea, Bunroeun and Vantha assemble clean water packages for delivery.
The next day, the teams distributed 285 hygiene packs to as many families.  106 hygiene packs were distributed by our teams in Tropeang Ses and 179 in Veal, both nearby squatter villages where many of the JWOC school students come from.
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A scholarship student explains how to use the clean water packages in Tropeang Ses village.
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Health and needs assessment is conducted to determine the needs of each individual village.
The heavy rains have stopped for now and the flooding is going down.  However,  the drainage around Tropeang Ses village is still blocked and the area is still severely flooded, with water levels above the knee as there is nowhere for the water to drain to.
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A mother accepts a hygiene package.
On Saturday October 19, the CL&A team distributed hygiene packs to 36 families in this block and will continue working with them as they are at high risk still of water-related and mosquito-borne diseases. 
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Volunteer students were a key part of getting the emergency services to the people in the villages.
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A local woman listens to instructions on how to use the clean water tablets to keep from contracting water-borne diseases and how the iodine can be used to clean cuts to prevent infection.
JWOC is thankful for the support of all donors who helped to make it possible to provide this much-needed immediate relief.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Siem Reap Floods: Emergency Relief




Dear JWOC Supporters, 


 









As you may have heard in recent news, Cambodia is experiencing severe flooding with the death toll currently over 100 and over 60,000 people having to leave their homes so far. There is growing concern over disease outbreak from water-borne diseases due to a lack of sanitation and hygiene in these extreme living circumstances.   The flooding has seriously affected nearly all of Cambodia with Siem Reap Province, the communities JWOC works with, hit especially bad. The flooding is damaging homes, crops and causing harm to roads and infrastructure.





 For those living off the main roads just getting out of the house means wading through dirty water that in places is well above knee height.  In the rural parts of the Province villages are becoming cut off as roads are washed away. People in the communities JWOC works with are so far surviving but it’s an anxious time as the risk of water related and mosquito-borne diseases, such as Dengue Fever, is high and growing as the flooding is not receding.

As well as the large concern over the risk of disease there is also recovery to consider once the water goes down, with clean up and repairs to roads and houses needed. Many families are losing their crops as their rice fields and poultry are destroyed by the flooding, a source of both income and food for impoverished families.The longer-impact of the flooding is fear for food security with concerns over food shortages





We are asking for you to donate towards JWOC’s Relief Fund during this difficult period to allow us to help with current emergencies, reduce risk of disease and to give us the ability to contribute to the recovery of the communities that mean so much to us.

With a donation of $15 you can help 10 families prevent and treat water related diseases they are contracting from living in flooded homes and drinking contaminated water.  Each hygiene pack contains clear water purifying tablets, iodine antiseptic and soap. 

Please donate $50 so that you can help 10 families from being at risk from fatal mosquito-borne diseases.

Donating $100 you would help provide food for 10 families for a week to help them through the food shortages and difficulty in securing food for their children during the recovery process.


To donate please go here . Mark your donation Flood Relief.

Thank you!

Best wishes,

Alex and the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries of JWOC

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Difference a Scholarship Makes...



Vantha has managed our Scholarship Program at JWOC for over four years. Here he talks about the importance of education  in Cambodia and the opportunities that a scholarship can provide...







3 JWOC Graduates at our Annual JWOC Graduation Party.



 
Why is education important? One of many answers is that education can be the key to a better life; it can help open the doors of opportunity and give people a chance to find 
what they need.  Education helps people achieve their goals. However, all people have different lives, and some have fewer chances than others. So if they want to continue their education they have to find jobs or scholarships to support them. All students think they will have a much easier time finding a job if they are better educated. They really do not want to live in the same family situation forever. I really think that the students thoughts are right. That is why JWOC scholarship program has played a significant role in providing education for students. We can say the gift of knowledge cannot be stolen and it can enable student to reach their dreams.
Vantha and students during a team building activity.
I have been working on JWOC’s Scholarship Program for years and I can see from one year to the next many students have changed their path to a more positive one.  I am so excited when I see how students are able to change their lives for the better with help from our scholarships.  



Sokphak, JWOC Computer Teacher and Scholarship Student.
One of our current scholarship students who is going to graduate from us soon, is our full-time computer teacher and computer lab supervisor, Sophak. His life has improved in many ways, especially in his knowledge and work experience.  Before he got a scholarship from JWOC he had to live with his older cousin and received a little amount of money from his family to support of his daily expenses. After he got scholarship, he could afford to rent a room himself and was able to  support his younger brother. Sokphak volunteers in the free classes program, studies at university and works full time.   JWOC promoted him to be a full-time staff as computer teacher after all his hard work and dedication.  He does very good job at JWOC. The impact of his hard work is that he gets good grades from his academic studies and also he is able to successfully teach students in JWOCs’ free class program to learn the basic computer course (Ms Office word, Excel and PowerPoint and Internet and Emai). His dream career is to be  an  IT teacher at university. He also wishes to run a small IT shop in his hometown. With all his hard work, one day his dream will come true.
Sokphak, teaching a computer class at JWOC





This year we are going to provide 17 scholarships to students, especially for those who cannot afford to go to university or continue their studies due to change in circumstances.



On behalf of all JWOCs’ students I really want to say many thanks to our supporters for continuing to support the program, and give many chances to our generation and the next. With your support we can give students the best opportunity and help Cambodia become a strong and educated society.


 Interested in supporting a student through university?  Click here. 

 



 




Thursday, August 15, 2013

JWOC Scholarships Change Lives

  In October we will be welcoming 17 new scholarship students. In this blog we take a look back at  the success of our previous scholarship student Makara, who tells us why a JWOC scholarship is more than just an opportunity to attend university...


"Hello, my name Makara Put, I am 26 years old. Now I am working at Journeys Within Boutique Hotel as a front desk manager. In 2007, JWOC gave me a great opportunity to study in university for four years. I graduated from university in September 2011.

It wasn't only a university scholarship; JWOC has provided me a great experience to work with the community. I was a volunteer in the microfinance project, which was very good time for me to meet a lot villagers. As I like talking, it was very nice for me to ask, answer and discuss with them about their business ideas. JWOC also has workshops for the scholarship students to learn more about how to prepare the CV to apply for the new job, to be confident in communication, etc.

 
Again, I would like to say thank you very much to JWOC and my sponsor who helped me to make my life different. I won't be here without JWOC. And I would like to leave a message to current scholarship students, please try your best to get your better future and remember that the more you do the most you get!"


 Interested in sponsoring a student? Click here for more information. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

JWOC Visits the U.S


 We are so excited to announce a US Journeys Within Our Community Fundraising Tour! 


Many of you will remember when Narla joined me in the US in 2009 and together we visited schools, clubs, and many of our wonderful donors - all to raise awareness and to generate donations for the projects we're working on in Southeast Asia.

Somit, Our Free Classes Program Manager is excited to
travel to the U.S for the first time and speak about his
experiences at JWOC
We decided that it was time to do it again, so in September Narla, Makara, Somit and Vantha will be coming to the US to visit and to help fundraise. Narla is such a great JWOC success story and of course is now our expert on US travel so he'll be coming along to help the other guys learn the ropes. Makara has been working for Journeys Within Boutique Hotel for years, so for him this is a bonus trip from the company. Since he's also a scholarship student alumni he'll be put to work fundraising as well!  Somit and Vantha have both been working for JWOC for years so this trip is to thank them for their amazing service and because their experience and passion for JWOC is just such a joy to be around!


Vantha, our Office and Scholarship Manager is also
 looking forward to talking
about JWOC on his first ever visit to the U.S!
Below is our tentative schedule for the trip; and the reason I'm writing is because we need our supporters help to make this trip a success. Not only do we need places to stay in each stop on the tour, but we also need an audience!  On our last trip our donors and supporters hosted, and/or held dinners or gatherings so we could tell friends and family about what we're doing with JWOC. The events donors arranged included inviting us to their book clubs, to their Rotary group meetings and to their kid's schools as well as hosting events in their homes! Because of incredible donor support we were able to raise money, awareness and get more people involved in what we're doing here in Southeast Asia.

If you would be interested in hosting a dinner or if you have a group that you think would be interested in having us to speak please just let me know and we will start putting together a wonderful two weeks for these guys!


All the best,

Andrea

Schedule for the trip


·      September 20th: Our JWOC representatives arrive in San Francisco
·         September 21st:  We will be in Sacramento, CA
·         September 22nd: We will fly from California to New York City!
·         September 23rd: We are hoping to attend World Savers in New York City
·         September 24th: New York
·         September 25th We will head from New York City to Washington DC
·         September 26th  Washington DC
·         September 27th: We will head back to California
·         September 28th: Everyone will attend the JWOC Board Meeting in Truckee, CA
·         September 29th - October 4th:  We will be in California, but we would be willing to travel if you have an opportunity for us!
·         October 5th:  The guys depart to head back to Cambodia



If you can help host our team please email  andrea@journeys-within.com







Monday, July 22, 2013

Clean Water Program Update

Seng, Our Clean Water Program Manager,  discusses the activities involved in the Clean Water Program; the latest collaboration with Community, Liaison and Assistance Program and the people and communities that are supported through our clean water initiative.

I am Seng.I have been the Clean Water Program manager, for about a year now. We do Clean Water  Program activities at schools and in villages. We are still providing hygiene training to students at primary and kindergarten schools, in Siem Reap town and at the same time, we are checking the filters and wells that we have provided, they are using very well.. There are now 12 schools that we have done, which means 6280 students have been provided with hygiene training! Students, teachers and principles of schools are very welcoming and very happy with what they are getting from our activities. 

Volunteer Sa Em, teaches kindergarten children at Krong Siem Reap school how to wash their hands.

Recently, the Clean Water program has cooperated with Community Liaison and Assistance program (CLA) to implement their programs in the communities.  We started with providing program training, on the 28 Apr to 18 May 2013 for all scholarship students volunteering in the program. We feel very happy when we have two teams working together because we have more experiences, and learn from CLA, even though the tasks to implement seems new to us and the work to be completed seems a bit difficult at the beginning. Now it is actually easier in implementation because there are more suggestions and ideas when discussing with each other.

Part of the CW and CL&A collaboration, the volunteers attend a fun and engaging training.


I have more knowledge about these two projects working together and having noticed that there are many more  improvements in the whole village that we have been working in. We can run projects  in the villages more frequently. We keep observing or monitoring what has been done in the village and we can inform the problems and solve them faster. 


The group conduct Specialized Training in Kork Thmey village
Since starting, there are 17 villages JWOC has implemented Clean Water. After having checked around ten villages, we decided to choose Kork Thmey village that is to the west of Siem Reap - about 30 kilometres.  There have been many problems in the village, lacking  access to water, not enough materials to make clean water and lacking good hygiene knowledge in their lives. We have seen 30 hole wells, 12pit wells and 33pully wells, but most of them haven’t enough water in dry season and sometimes they dry up. We found thirteen places to install new wells t In fact, Kork Thmey is a small village of only 170 families. Most of them are farmers, but there isn’t enough irrigation, the people can farm only in rainy season. In dry season, some people go to work in Thailand illegally, some find the work in Siem Reap town and most women stay at home looking after their house and children. 
CW and CL&A Program Managers sign a contract agreement with the village chief and group leaders at Kork Thmey village.


I really hope that there will be a lot of change in the village due to Clean Water program and Community Liaison and Assistance working together. We have assigned the group leaders in the village by ourselves, not decided by  the village chief. Most of them are women because we think they are actively involved in the community effective helpful and trying hard to help their village.


A consultation with the village chief

Drilling a new well, Kork Thmey village











I am looking forward to writing again next time to tell you more about the Clean Water Program’s work in villages and schools. Thank you very much for reading my update and for supporting Clean Water in Cambodia!    


    
 

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