It was a great privilege to recently lead thirty-one members of our community to Siem Reap, Cambodia from 30 March to 8 April. The diverse group included five staff, two recent alumni, the two school captains and twenty-four current Years 10 and 11 students. This was the fifth Westbourne edition of the Cambodia Challenge and as always it proved rewarding, confronting and memorable.
The aims of this trip were:
- Strengthening our relationship with all involved at the educational residence, Kampuchea House, which we have now supported for ten years. The visit included the opportunity to actively celebrate the health, well-being and educational success of the children of Kampuchea House. Their continued development of the English language provided meaningful communication opportunities both verbally and in written form.
- Further developing Westbourne’s ‘Cambodia Community’ which now includes around 150 actual visitors plus their families and friends, who have a deeper understanding of the history and way forward for the modern Khmer people.
- Making a practical and genuine difference in an underprivileged local village community. Specifically, with the oversight of the local NGO ‘HUSK’, we have now funded and built five houses in Kom Pheim village, assisted in numerous building programs, taught around seventy-five English lessons, and provided materials and support for the village’s sewing and manufacture industry.
- Expanding global social understanding of all involved.
- Providing a meaningful and memorable life experience that involved significant personal and group mental and physical challenges. The trip operated in consistent heat and high humidity and is packed with activities and little down time.
- Representing Westbourne with distinction and further developed the positive reputation of our community.
- Being part of a successful experience and developing a legacy that can be continued on an annual basis.
- Building positive relationships between students, their peers and staff members.
- Building resilient and independent students who further developed coping strategies which will assist in achieving academic excellence and contributing to the wider community in a positive way.
I was immensely proud of all our students who embraced this amazing opportunity with grace, respect, courage and selflessness. They reported learning important lessons about the world and themselves. They represented the School with great distinction. I am extremely grateful to the other staff who attended in Ms Louisa Scerri, Mr Robert Utting, Mr Tim Clemens and Ms Andrea Arnold.
To learn more about the Cambodia Challenge of 2018 and the possibility of being a member of the 2019 trip, please attend the Cambodia Community Night on Tuesday 31 July from 7pm in the Auditorium.