My time volunteering
My name is Zara. I am a UK volunteer taking part in VSO ICS Cycle 4 livelihoods project in Tang Krasang Cambodia. During my placement I have been living with two counterparts in a ‘luxury’ home with my host family. Throughout my placement I have been a part of the Entrepreneurship sub- team and the MPR sub-committee.
The impact of my placement
As a team, we hugely impacted the children within the community who would come to our youth clubs. On a weekly basis we would teach them employment, entrepreneurship skills and support them with local volunteering. Alongside these skills the children also developed their English language speaking and were provided with new opportunities. The national volunteers were also working collaboratively with the UK volunteers and so everyone was gaining valuable cross cultural skills. The work we completed in Tang Krasang was the fourth stage of a number of sustainable cycles. In the future the economic success of the community will hopefully increase, as our team helped locate entrepreneurs to sell their products in a newly built market building (in Phnov commune). The student's in the youth clubs have access to resources which will allow them to better their soft skills e.g. leadership.
My unforgettable moments
A key event/ memory that stood out to me was one of the CADs on international women’s day. This was the first day I felt that I had personally made a massive impact on lots of student’s lives. We began the day at Tang Krasang high school, performing a dance we had choreographed to the song ‘This is me’ representing women empowerment. There were hand-made photo booths and a tree of empowerment to place paper leaves on, of which the children had written names of inspiring women. In the middle of the day we took part in a march through the community to the primary school. The school directors thanked us and we took part in dances with the children to celebrate our event.
In the evenings, my two counterparts (Smey and Novy) and I would cook dinner for our host family, dance with the karoake machine and then wash up together each evening. This was a lovely way to finish each day, as well as a bike ride with the UK volunteers down to the suspension bridge for sunset.
The impact my placement has had on me
I feel as a person I have changed greatly. I have learnt to appreciate the little things at home and have more acceptance of differences in views, values and needs of other people. By living in a developing country I have worked through diverse experiences in contrast to living in the UK. I understand the effect of unsustainable products, severe poverty and unequal trade.
My ability to communicate cross-culturally has advanced from the help of my counterparts and students at the youth clubs. In my future this will help me to work in healthcare and understand unique circumstances/ illnesses.
I have learnt so much more about myself than I thought I would. I have always been a resilient person through years of competing in Sailing competitions nationally in all weathers. Although I believe this skill has improved further, as a result of the challenges I have been put through during my time here. I have developed to become more independent and confident in myself when making decisions which is beneficial for going to university in September.
Cambodia has given me a taste of what i do and don't enjoy. I hope to travel and volunteer again in a developing country and live more sustainably with global issues in mind.