I engaged Mr Phansy Ros as our tour guide to the Temples of Angkor and around Siem Reap area. I would recommend his service to anyone who is visiting Siem Reap with similar objectives like mine:
1) avoid text book reading type of tour. I don’t like to join tour but private tour guide can make your visit a better experience and better use of time.
2) tour against the traffic with less tourist ‘heads’ in my pictures
3) have the opportunity to extend helping hands to rural children with insufficient fund
Pause for a moment and stare into her eyes before reading on …
Learn more about the (English School – Angkor Rural Children Education Project) setup by Phansy Ros and funded by some donors like you. I got to know Phansy’s project before departing to Siem Reap, and Christine and I decided to give our two cents worth to assist within our capacity.
First thing I can help is to promote the goodwill of Phansy so that you can also ‘travel for charity’. Please do not mistaken this as visiting orphanage as tourist attraction. These less advantage kids are not zoo animals for us to ‘see’, but for us to care for.
The school started with the young teacher who use his own house as classroom to teach rural children English. The teacher was on the left with yellow color jersey and Phansy was on the right.
The local government school offers free education but English is not part of the syllabus. Now the Phansy school project has grown to more than 90 children after 3 years in operation. In order to sustain the expenses (now solely come from Phansy and few donors), you could make a difference.
We visited the school on Sunday evening near dusk. The children were playing soccer in the field, happily chasing after the football without any rule (just pure fun). Since it was getting dark, we realize the area has no electricity or water supply. Half of the kids were bare foot walking and traveling in the dark. The school could need some fund to purchase more tables, or have the solor power, or have the washroom. Many of the children have to sit on the dirt to attend their English class.
If you are visiting Siem Reap, do contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you could do some good to the local community. Simple things like unwanted used clothing, English text books for children, fund to build sanitary and teaching facilities etc. may make a difference to the future of these children. If you have some spare time, you can volunteer to teach or offer your skills to help.
The parents of these children are lower income farmers in rural areas. The children were often force to quit school prematurely.
Many of the kids never use shampoo, or brush their teeth. The school started teaching them basic hygiene (like clipping nails), and more to be done to reduce illness with simple education.
While I am sitting at the restaurant on Pub Street, I couldn’t help thinking the Heaven and Hell that Phansy was talking about. Then I saw a poster with the slogan “Let the adults earn, and the kids learn”. Education is one effective way to stop poverty. In order to let the children focus on learning, we have to help the adult earn reasonable living so that young children could be students instead of labours.