In the remote tribal town of Takeo two hours south of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh is where the New Futures Organization Orphanage endeavors to change the lives underprivileged children. Founded three years by its owner/ manager Neville, the orphanage homes up to 50 children all from varying backgrounds such as parental deaths or simply parents being unable to afford to raise their children.
The children all have access to education as Neville also owns eight schools in the neighboring villages. As well as their school education the children are taught English at the orphanage and other practical activities that will benefit them greatly for their future in a developing Cambodia.
As we where passing through Cambodia, helping the children of this country with such a tragic history under the Pol Pot regime was a must so we could contribute to these children’s futures.
Deciding to volunteer we did numerous activities as well as teaching the children..
Everyday we cycled through the traditional Cambodian town, Takeo to the many smiles and “hello’s” as the locals spotted us. We stayed in the New Futures Organisation Guest House of which all profits go towards the orphanage and schools.
From here the orphanage was a 15min bike ride and bikes where $1 to hire for the day. Arriving down a dusty, dry, sandy road we arrived to the many smiles and excitement of the children as they welcome you into their world.
With a small farm, pond, kitchen and dining room, two school rooms and a boys and girls bedroom the 50 children have everything they need to live comfortably with the support of donors and sponsors. The children have two English lessons a day at the orphanage and this is where we came in.
The children are passionate about learning, so teaching is the easy part. Lessons are structured from a guide/ teaching book which is easy for any English- speaking person to follow. With no teaching experience I found it a great and moving experience sitting with these children on small wooden benches and home- made desks, helping them speak better English than what I can.
I spent three days teaching the majority of the boys how to fish. I felt this would be a good skill for them to learn as their diet mainly consisted of rice and vegetables. Many of the boys spent hours patiently waiting for what they where calling a “free meal”. On the third day success hit and it was via a traditional Cambodian method as we struck gold. Seeing the plastic bottle run across the lake with a hook attached with bread as bait, I dived in to catch the fish with my hands (exhilarating to say the least).
Three great sized fish which would be a few days of protein and meat for the whole orphanage was the reward. With the children cheering with joy calling me “The Fisherman” they where elated.
Inviting me to taste the fish once it was filleted I sat with them as they tucked in. Unsure of what fish it was (a type of Catfish I believe) the fish was delicious.
Other days we taught the children first aid, again another great skill for them to have.
The children appreciate the time being taken for their health and safety in order to learn such skills.
Unfortunately the children do not have an on- site nurse however there is a site manager in case anything does go wrong and the volunteers. Every evening the day would be finished off with a game of football with the children emulating their favourite footballers, especially Rooney and Gerrard. In 40 degree heat this was enough to wipe me out for the day until the next chaotic day came along.
On our final day we had a “Sports Day”. All the children competed on the sandy, dry land ridden with snakes and scorpions but nothing could take away their happiness, surprisingly quite contrary to what children have back in the UK.
And that’s what volunteering at a place such as New Futures Organisation Orphanage is all about.
The children learn and benefit from all who do volunteer and providing them with a confidence and happiness off which they would not have had otherwise.
It leaves long lasting memories for you and the children. Strong bonds can be made if you dedicate a small amount of time to them and it may just have a bigger impact on the children than you might think.
One of the girls told me she wants to be a doctor and with the orphanage now having 8 children enter University it may just happen…
If you would like to donate visit:
It costs as little as $3000 for a school to be built