What an awesome first day! Thank you Victoria Keeys for sharing with me your Cambodian family and home. With a clean up this morning we will be ready to start painting tomorrow!
In September 2018, I had the honor to join PeopleStories to build a classroom in rural Siem Riep, Cambodia for Chear Smonn Secondary school (i.e. Post on How I found PeopleStories)
I want to share a couple of the impactful moments I had on this trip. The first moment was when myself and other volunteers were carrying bricks to the bricklayers. Then kids from the local school who were on their school break came and joined us. The kids in groups of two would use a basket to transport bricks to the bricklayers I thought to myself, “ would you see this in a developed country?” To make that moment more memorable, Vic and Chandelle from PeopleStories had all of us write a phrase on a brick. I wrote “Dream Big” because I believe with basic IT skills and english these children have the building blocks to accomplish any dream. I put “dream big” so that it will be a constant reminder to the children that they can do anything! We placed the bricks in the foundation leaving our mark.
The second memorable moment was on my last day, Vic and I brought two girls from the school and their mom back to our hotel to swim. The two girls live with their parents outside the school in one bedroom wooden home with a well in the yard as their chief water source. As result, going to the city and being in a hotel really was a sharp contrast. When the girls saw the infinity pool their faces lit up with joy. Vic and I taught them the basic swimming strokes which they quickly learned and we raced them across the pool. This experience grounded us to realize that life is too short and moments like these can really make profound impact on someone's life.
Overall this Siem Reap trip with PeopleStories is truly profound and inspirational experience to me. It reminds me to always give back, live in the moment, and be thankful.
Come join us by being a Changemaker by Volunteering or by giving.
PeopleStories has been truly impactful for myself and our organization, Cyberjin.
Vic and I met teaching English and IT in Thailand and shared common aspirations to help give children IT and English to allow them to do anything they want in this world.
When Vic asked for assistance with her new Non-profit in March 2018 it triggered major events in my life and others. Her suggestion for myself to help with IT aspect of PeopleStories jump-started the launch of our company to make businesses more efficient and most importantly make a difference in the world starting with PeopleStories.
Now 6 months later the first steps have begun on a new partnership. Coming to Cambodia to help rebuild the Chear Smonn school has reiterated how important I believe PeopleStories is and approach is effective. You can tell the real impact by the smiles on kids faces, the decrease in dropout rates, and the family feel we experienced at dinner with one of the villages.
PeopleStories approach is one that is wholisitc on focusing on setting up the foundation of education by giving the school proper processes and tools to succeed. This can be seen in School for Life and Bike for Life!
The future of PeopleStories is bright and within the next five years I envision multiple of these programs including an IT component across five schools in two countries with ambassadors of volunteers helping set up proper foundation at each school.
My only advice is to adapt, dream big, leverage your resources, and shoot for the moon!! I am truly excited to belong along for this journey!
Written by Matt Nelson, Volunteered in September 2018
Helping to rebuild the classroom at Chea Smonn school in rural Cambodia!
My hands got dirty, I sweated and I was tired but it was an awesome experience seeing all the support, laughter and positive energy!! We had so many people helping us including the mother of one of the local children cooking lunch for the hard working volunteers.
One of the highlights was when all of us wrote down our dreams and wishes on a brick which became part of the new building. Hearing some of the children and to listen to their dreams is amazing!
I like to think about the snow ball effect this will have. Every child which we can help educate and positively influence will eventually pass this on.
One small little step at a time we will help make this world a happier and better place.
Story written by Oliver Miloschewsky who volunteered with PeopleStories in September 2018.