Not long ago, fellow changemaker Vipin joined us on one of our Voluntour programs. The mission was to bring out the artistic talent in local primary students.
Vipin came together with his wife and 2 sons and it was his first time in Siem Reap. Our initial encounter was somewhat distant and I could not make out Vipin’s motivation for the Voluntour. However, I (try to!) ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ and I am glad that I did just that! On the 2nd day, Vipin was literally a changed person. From ‘trying to be invisible’ to ‘taking the lead’ with the kids! Amazing!
After spending a few days at the school, Vipin was determined to take one more step! He wanted to donate some whiteboards to the school. Not only 1 or 2, but 13 whiteboards for the entire school!
What was his motivation? Have a listen to his sharing, “One of the activities required me to write song lyrics on the blackboard for the students to copy. The light was reflecting on the board and there was lots of paint scattered on them. The students simply could not see the writing on the board.”
“I told myself, that if I can’t see what's on the board, how can these kids see it? I felt for the kids , thinking of my own children being in the same situation. I knew it wouldn't take much to make a difference so I did what my heart said.”
And what a difference has Vipin make! The kids were so excited when the new whiteboards arrived at the school and now teachers are using them for their better teaching. Clearly the kids and teachers were positively impacted and that got me thinking… I wonder if this trip to Siem Reap has also impacted Vipin’s perspective?
He said, “It tremendously affected me. Education is power. Enabling schools with right means, we empower them to build the future of their families. With education these kids can move out to work in the city and break out from the cycle of hardship.”
It is incredibly rewarding to witness these stories first hand and what stands out for me is meaningful change does not always require huge sums of money but in equal parts the openness to engage with local students and communities to find out what their needs really are.
The benefits for them are obvious. However I also love seeing the joy our Voluntour programs bring to those attending. The genuine and positive nature is absolutely incredible and it touches my heart every time I go back to Siem Reap.
I am so glad to learn from Vipin’s story and hope you are too. Why not join us at one of the ChangeMaker Voluntour programs?
Come and be visible... make the change yourself!