I fell in love with Cambodia and its people when I spent a month there in early 2011. My name is Jonathan Hicks and I'm an Alabama native who took a post college-graduation backpacking tour through Asia. "¨"¨
Through couch-surfing I stumbled across a brilliant, selfless young man named Piseth. He took an Australian friend, Todd, and myself to his home village about 30 kilometers outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. There we were housed at a Buddhist pagoda and spent three of the most calming, tranquil days of our lives. We practiced mediation, took long bike rides down red dirt roads, taught English (to the best of our ability) to groups of young Cambodian children, and listened to the wise teachings of young, practicing monks.
I came to learn that Piseth was somewhat of a savior for his community. He learned to take advantage of technology and communication mediums (Facebook and Couchsurfing) to benefit his struggling neighbors. He set up these "genuine Cambodian experience" tours in order to help raise money for his village and the Buddhist pagoda. And of course, both Todd and I obliged, buying books and educational materials for the pagoda and the nearby elementary school. After spending a few days with these amazing people, and seeing how so little could make such a positive impact, we were quickly inclined to give. However, Piseth was in no way looking at us as a means to an end. He genuinely cared for us and ended up giving to us much more than the small amount we contributed to his village and pagoda.
This pagoda was not only a training ground for young monks, but also a small foster home for orphans and children whose parents could not support them. One particular child was Muy, a Junior in high school with a strong desire to go to college in Phnom Penh upon graduation. His future, we were told, was completely dependent upon whether or not Piseth could find him a financial sponsor.
That was almost two years ago and it is time for Muy to go to college. Muy is struggling to get by and he needs financial support to continue his education. I cannot afford to fund him alone, so I'm asking for your help. I implore you to give what you can. Due to the relatively low cost of living and affordability of education in Cambodia, we do not need much. Our goal is $3000, and I am starting off by giving $500 of my own money. This spring I'm traveling back to Cambodia and Piseth and I are going to set up a college fund for Muy. Please, help me improve this young man's chance at a brighter future.
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