Twenty members of the HOPE Service Club travelled to Cambodia for 9 days in February with the purpose of participating in direct service to build a school in rural Pursat Province through a partnership with HOPE International. In addition to this trip experience, the HOPE Service Club aims to raise awareness of the extreme poverty, effective development and the need for education and access to water in Cambodia.
The first day of the trip was spent in Phnom Penh to learn about Cambodia’s devastating history under the Khmer Rouge which helped us understand the current situation in Cambodia. Soon after, we took a 5-hour drive to Pursat where we learned more about HOPE International’s work in Cambodia and visited families who have benefitted from HOPE’s water well program.
We spent most of our time in the rural village of Tadeis, working on expanding the local primary school. While visiting the school, we saw the overwhelming number of children who were in each classroom and that image gave us more motivation as we built the foundation of a neighboring school building. Working side by side with the locally hired labourers, we helped construct the foundation for the building out of rocks, cement, and love. We stayed at the site for two nights and three days in tents and we were able to understand the large amount of effort that was needed to build something so important. We had some difficulties adjusting to the heat, but the support given to us by the people of HOPE helped us greatly. Most of us would agree that the highlight of our trip would definitely be the children at the Tadeis school. Despite the language barrier, we were able to connect with the school children and had a lot of fun playing games and talking with them. The children had demonstrated their selfless attitude by helping us build the school.
All of these experiences helped us get a better understanding of the poverty and disparities in Cambodia and the lifestyles of the Cambodian people. People who received help from HOPE had water wells donated to them and we were able to meet a family who told how water access has improved their lives drastically. The other family we visited were waiting for a well and talked to us about the struggles they live through now and their future plans after receiving a well.
Overall, the trip to Cambodia was an incredible experience full of effort, learning opportunities, and a chance to understand the economic disparity between people around the world. We were able to truly see the needs of others for education and access to clean water. We absolutely recommend this experience for students who are able to join the HOPE Service Club in the future.
Facebook Page of Volunteered Preschool
From this experience, I learned a lot about the effect of volunteer work on small children and exploring new areas. This activity consisted of my friend and I traveling to small islands to go and read to young children in english and to teach them english as volunteer work. This idea started when my friend invited me to participate in the activity since she wanted to do some volunteer work involving english. We planned the whole process by looking for places (kindergartens mainly) where we would be allowed to volunteer for in islands that were not as populated. This was interesting as we both lived in Tokyo, a metropolis and we were used to the city life but exploring outside rural areas and going there on our own was a new experience for the both of us. The mindset we held on this trip and for the volunteering as a whole was to make a difference on the use of English in Japan to increase to possibilities of the future Japanese children by being able to speak in English and be more globally engaged.Once we were allowed to volunteer for the children, we researched on the islands we were going to. We went to Sadogashima and prepared the reading and the crafts activity for a few days and went to the Pre-School. Then, we went to the pre-school to read and do the crafts with te children. This was my first time doing volunteer work that had nothing to do with school and it was mostly managed by my friend and I so I was worried about the turnout, especially since we were not depending on adults. However, this experience turned out well as not only the kids enjoyed the time but they also started showing interest in English, like asking how to say simple things in English. This was part of our main goal of expanding globalization through language. I believe that this was the beginning of witnessing growth in curiosity and interest in English for Japanese children.
Because this experience had an impact on me, not only because of the success of teaching and the interest in English that the children began to have, but because this showed that we were able to make a change even if we were not dependent on schools or parents to guide us through every step. This experience definitely broadened my perspective on the global impact language can have. I would also like to extend this to children that are older and to others that have the same passion and interest in conducting this kind of work.
Relationships, which play one of the most important roles in our lives, was part of a concept I understood better through these lessons: what makes you a better listener, a better partner, a better friend. The ideas of what trust really means, what is appropriate in a strong relationship was interesting to me and what being a good listener consists of was what I learnt. The basic idea of how people want validation and empathy and how being a listener influences the speaker is what I learnt.
Along with the topic of relationships, I think also out of PSHE I read before what the basic components of love consisted which included things like addiction, dopamine, and oxytocin and this is something I think really shows how interesting and complex the concept of love is.
Another thing I learnt through these lessons was substance abuse. I knew from before the dangers of drugs and addiction and what causes them as I have studied them before but I think that in these lessons I was able to fully understand the real life dangers and how easily accessible and close these threats are around us.
Lastly, overall I was able to learn the importance of relationships throughout this year. It may have been because I was new this year and building new relationships was needed as I came to this school. I didn’t find it hard but I did understand how better it is to have strong relationships with people.
Throughout these two semesters of PSHE, I have learnt several important life lessons that I have looked over previously but also newer ideas as well. I think the topics we covered in this class is relevant to real-life situations and is not necessarily academic but useful by all means.
One of the first important things I learned in this subject was the idea of wellness and perspective. I understood the importance of perspective from before but I think this year I was able to look at it through a different angle and what it really means to have time. I think what helped me most was the video on time in jelly beans. For me, time is a concept that is difficult to understand as it is so large and unfamiliar, but the video made it easier to look at it at an easier level on a smaller scale. What I learned was the limited time we have after we take out the time for things that are necessary for survival is actually very limited and every decision we make within this time should be meaningful but also enough so that we can enjoy the time we are given.
Also, self awareness was another aspect that I learned over this year, through the surveys we took on NAVIANCE. Through this site I discovered things about myself that may have never been put into perspective before. I looked at the career choices the site thought I would be most applicable with and also the personality type I match up most with. I was surprised at the fact that one of my main career cluster was in marketing, because I don’t feel very comfortable with statistics but I am interested in Law and my qualities are things I agree with.Enterprising scored high on my career interest profiler, and this could involve Marketing. Health Science could have a connection to Social interest. Overall, I think I might be suited for something to with the sciences or in law, especially since in the cluster, Law was the second.
The grade 10 media fair took place on June 8th, 2016 as an English project. This media fair centered around every students’ posters on how the topics of their choice are represented in the media and there was a variety of topics ranging from Food to Politics. I chose the topic of Positive Body Image in the media and looked at how it was shown in the media and the audience, perspective, and attitude each source had. This was done as a final project for our unit on media and we focused on the audience, perspective, and features of media that convey a message about each of our own topics.
Mimi – Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner, a reality television star and her Vanity Fair cover was Mimi’s topic. She looked at an article, an editorial, Twitter, a video, and a meme to see how this topic is portrayed in the media. The reason I looked at this poster was because Caitlyn Jenner is a controversial star that I know of and I also watch the reality TV show series called ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ which Jenner stars in. In the media types se looked at, there were positive reactions from celebrities showing support and also editorials that are against Caitlyn Jenner saying that she is a negative influence to the transgender community. The media she looked at also showed how teenagers react to the idea on the internet.
Keina – Cosmetics
Keina focused on cosmetics and its representation in the media as her topic. She looked at five different media types: Two different posters, a social media platform, a news article, and a television commercial. Keina looked at these media types and annotated the audience and perspectives that are conveyed in her visually appealing poster. What was interesting about this was that almost all of the target audience in the media she chose were women. She told me how skincare, and cosmetics in general is a product made by gender stereotyping. Another thing we both noticed about the topic and the media she looked at was that it had some relation with my topic which was about body image.
Alex – eSports
Alex looked at eSports, a form of sport played through electronic systems, for his project. He focused on the controversy of eSports. The different media types he looked at were a blog, an oped, a video, a news article, and a logo. Alex talked about how he found it interesting that in the video he used, the video was a had a direct opposition to the News article he used. The video he looked at also used direct quotes from the article and criticizing what the article stated. This showed how media can serve different purposes and have different attitudes towards the same topic and shows how manipulative media is in general.
Zerric – Tea Cup Dogs
As a dog lover, Zerric chose tea cup dogs as the subject of his media analysis and how the dogs are represented. What I found interesting about this was that the media lies about the average lifespan of these dogs. Tea cup dogs live up to 2~3 years on average while the media says it to be much longer. This was interesting because it shows the lack of compassion in the media Zerric looked at has for these dogs and how they would rather create obvious lies for profit. The media types he looked at were brochures, photographs, appeals, reports, and advertisements.
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