Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Green Gecko

Courtesy of Green Gecko

We've been couchsurfing at Clem's place 12 days now (with a brief break in the middle when we went out to Banteay Chhmar..more on that later). Clem is pretty awesome. Last year she volunteered for two months with the
Green Gecko Project here in Siem Reap. This year she is back to work for them full-time as the development coordinator. She recently just secured funding for her job for AusAid and will become a Youth Ambassador. It's sort of funny because she has to return to Australia for the pre-departure training, even though she has been living and working here for months already. That's how bureaucracy works.

We went to visit Green Gecko more than a week ago and it is pretty impressive. Currently the Green Gecko Project is a residential program for about 70 former street/beggar children providing housing, clothing, food, education and a family for those involved. I could rehash the story of how Green Gecko began, but it is explained so eloquently
here, that I would rather just encourage you to click the link and read the story. To briefly summarize: Tania, an Australian women, read a story on orphanages in Siem Reap in an in-flight magazine in 2004. She immediately flew to Siem Reap and found her calling with the children there. Together Tania and her Khmer partner, Rem, have created this large family. Today the 70 children live on the Gecko compound, attend both Khmer and English school and have daily organized educational activities. The Project also provides support to 30 families including nutritional food packs and micro-business trainings, among other efforts.

Want to melt your heart? Check out
this page, where you can see all the Gecko kids.

Cale and I were so impressed with the organization and came away from the visit a little jealous about the teaching the volunteers do there in comparison to our teaching experience in Samoa. The main difference is that in Samoa we had to work within the existing school system and were limited by existing curricula. The Gecko kids attend outside school every day (though I will have to blog about the Cambodia school system soon), so the volunteers at the organization are not limited or hampered by the school system. Instead they are open to make creative curricula that teach useful information that inspire the students.

If anyone reading this blog was wondering how they could help out with street kids in Cambodia,
this is they way to do so.

— Sara

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