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B1G1 Study Tours are an annual event. Every year, we choose a country and then we do a lot of research on our projects in those countries to build a great Study Tour experience for our B1G1 Partners.In 2014, the B1G1 Study Tour was to Cambodia. Read Aynsley’s Great Cambodian Adventure (part 8) below: “Playground building, traffic jams and the joy of giving”.
We stopped off at Childs Dream, our partner in the playground building, to collect a generator and some other last minute bits and pieces required and not yet on site. Childs Dream is a NGO dedicated to empowering marginalised children and young people in the Mekong Sub-Region, which includes Burma, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. Working in partnership with communities their mission is to improve the educational and health situation for their children and youths.
Activities range from health interventions for children to reduce child mortaility, construction of educational facilities to provide universal basic education, youth employment centers to high school and university scholarships.
The road to Bonteat Bush
The journey through Banteay Meachey province was to take us 2 hours. However the journey took longer than anticipated! We encountered some challenges getting through traffic jams (with the aid of the marvellous Paul), construction and narrow roads. When it got almost impossible for our coach to go on, we had to jump on a pick-up truck to reach our final destination. Close to 20 people squeezed on the truck and going through the dusty and bumpy roads was an unforgettable (and very close) experience!
For many, this was the MAIN day. The playground was to be paid for and built by the B1G1 Partners and team on the study tour. When we arrived, all 17 of us plus tour guides quickly got to work, transferring all the swings, slides, see-saws, rocks and sand. If you thought we were there for a photo op, some PR and to put the finishing touches on, you were seriously wrong! The ground was poor and the tools even poorer! However, with so many holes to dig, the local men looking on, leant a helping hand and got stuck in! It was so heart warming to see all the school kids eagerly helping us too with carrying sand, tyres and painting! We had all brought old t-shirts to protect their uniforms. It was truly smiles all around while we’re all building the playground together.
We were so chuffed to see the stationery sets that had been organised. The children were even more excited! However, all 150 or so lined up patiently to receive their gifts from the B1G1 team. Those that were accidentally missed out didn’t shout, they just waited even more patiently and put up their hands when asked.
Sadly we had to leave and saying goodbye to the kids, we jumped on a pick-up truck again back to the coach and off to Siem Reap! How long was our journey back going to take???
The joy of giving
It still chokes me to this day to think about the joy on the children’s faces with their playground, t-shirts and stationery sets. But even more so – the joy I got from the simple act of giving!