Community Engagement- Cambodia Trip
I have joined a service group called “Hope.” In HOPE service group, our general goal as a club is to support and deepen the relationships between these rural communities in Pursat Province, Cambodia and our partnership with HOPE in YIS. Before going to Cambodia, we make our own individual fundraising to go to Cambodia and as advocates raising awareness inside and outside of school. During the trip, our goal is to engage in person-to-person exchange with villagers in Cambodia (ex. with the children who will attend the school) and local HOPE staff. We also help construct schools and well for the poor family.
This year was my first time traveling for a service trip using my money that I fundraise outside and inside the school. By fundraising my own money to go to Cambodia made me a mature person as I needed to time manage myself and face the reality of earning money. Our individual goal is to raise 70000-80000 yen however I have earned 90000Yen.
We stayed in Cambodia for a week, and for 3 nights we move to a countryside in Cambodia to help construct a new school; wells for a poor family; and teaching English to the kids. We stayed in a tent which was built inside a temple. Since Japan is Highly developed Country, the environment that was surrounded me felt uncomfortable, however, I thought it was a good opportunity to actually know how it feels to live like the Kids in this village.
I am very fulfilled that I had an opportunity to go to Cambodia and understand a life I won’t be able to experience in a developing country. By going on this trip, I felt strongly satisfied with no regret on this trip. This is because I was able to see a huge smile on their (kids) faces, which was one of the reasons why I wanted to go on this trip- to see them very happy. However, to some extent, I felt like building school is not a great option. Of course, there are a lot of benefits by building schools but since there are more than 10 students for YIS who went on this trip to help out in Cambodia, we may have taken work away from local builders who need the work to earn money. In addition, the school may have built faster if we didn’t help out because the local workers have more skill and experience. This came to a conclusion that it would’ve been better to support and show awareness by building gardens and plants which- also shows interaction with kids and environmentally friendly- rather than building schools and buildings.
Although, there might be some other ways the ‘HOPE’ service trip can help out efficiently when they go to Cambodia. But I think building school is not a bad idea and the activity of building school should not be stopped. By having more schools, the students in Cambodia can have a better education. They will have more opportunities to go to school. Yet, this trip has inspired me what is happening in the world and always feeling appreciated what I have now. If I have another chance to interact with kids outside of Japan, I would love to travel again for a service trip.