Over the past week, CSA’s CEO Dr Daniel Pampuch has been working with Samaritans Purse in Cambodia. Daniel linked with Rodney Trinidad from the Samaritans Purse Australia Office and Wayne Hester, Samaritans Purse Cambodia. Over 120 CSA schools are involved with Samaritans Purse mission initiatives, including: Operation Christmas Child, freshwater and hygiene projects, building of schools and training of local teaching staff and principals.
The trip began with a historical review of Cambodia’s past under the Khmer Rouge. This included a visit to S21 an infamous torture centre as well as one of the notorious killing fields on the outskirts of Phnom Penn.
Part of the service trip included reviewing the state of current primary schools. Many of the schools were built by the United Nations in 1993 and were constructed primarily from wood. These buildings have not lasted the test of time and are being destroyed by successive monsoon seasons and by the attack of white ants. The trip allowed Daniel to see the needs of local communities as well as assess the viability and impact of long term partnerships between Australian schools and Cambodian schools.
In addition to partnering with CSA schools to build sustainable, secure facilities, Samaritans Purse are also providing schools with freshwater filters to ensure that students have access to clean water. Schools are also provided with appropriate toilets and washrooms. This project was matched with hygiene and cleanliness training to ensure students are able to remain healthy and attend school regularly. Once schools are set up, Samaritans Purse then turn their attention to providing villagers with their own home water filters and latrines.
Daniel was also able to participate in Operation Christmas Child distribution, in partnership with local churches. Only 3% of Cambodia’s population are Christian and thus the mission field is large. Within each box is a basic set of personal need products including: soap, toothbrush, comb, small towel, shoes, pencils and books, as well as, a few small toys such as balls, dolls and matchbox cars. Children were excited to receive these boxes! The boxes provide a way for Samaritans Purse to bless families and to begin to build relationships.
Villagers are also part of self-sufficiency programs including microfinance schemes, chicken breeding programs and pig husbandry. Each of these programs helps communities to develop financial independence, business skills and achieve a sustainable income. Communities are freed from poverty and are able to improve their independence with programs initiated by Samaritans Purse.
Finally, Samaritans Purse engages in soft skills or “software”. Many institutions focus on providing facilities and resources, however, Samaritans Purse realise that education and training are key to the long-term success of schools, villages, churches and the broader community. Many of the staff invest years with teachers, principals, pastors and village leaders to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to bring about lasting change. A number of CSA teachers and leaders travel to Cambodia each year to provide support and professional development to village schools.
As CSA moves into 2018, Daniel will be writing to schools to discuss ways that you might like to be part of some of the opportunities available through Samaritans Purse. The potential to develop long term relationships with schools and communities will have a significant impact in both the life of Cambodia and CSA schools.
For more information please see the Samaritans Purse website.