Friday, October 30, 2009

Helping out in Cambodia

By MICHELLE LOTTER - North Shore Times

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A Takapuna resident is volunteering her skills in language for a three- month Cambodia trip.

Fiona Whyte, a foreign exchange specialist, is looking forward to working with young Cambodian students through the Global Volunteer Network from November.

"To live and work in Cambodia, to be able to offer my knowledge and skills, that’s the really exciting
aspect of this opportunity."

She is paying for her own food and accommodation as she works with nine teachers from throughout the world as a language teacher in Phnom Penh on a project that provides affordable classes.

The aim is to raise money for the local non- government organisation Cambodian Rural Development Trust who works to improve livelihoods in rural Cambodian communities,
Ms Whyte says.

"Students pay a small fee to attend the classes and funds raised are used to improve the community in areas such as water, sanitation, livestock and agriculture production, and environmental awareness.

"Essentially I’ll be helping students improve their English skills while also assisting in the development of the community."

She travelled to Cambodia last year on a World Vision Cycle Charity Challenge that raised $63,000 and assisted 17,000 people in accessing clean water through the charity’s Cambodian projects.

"It was a wonderful experience made particularly special when World Vision was able to arrange for me to meet the two girls I sponsor.

"Even though we didn’t share the same language, we were able to connect. These people are warm, friendly and amazingly resilient."

She says she is looking forward to seeing the education, health and housing rights projects supported by the trust.

She will help facilitate fair trade with World Vision’s microfinance schemes to distribute goods which are sold in New Zealand.

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