Singing is my passion and lifework. I love engaging communities of all kinds to come together in group singing. During 2015- 2017 I was invited to live and teach in Phnom Penh, assisting a friend with the start up of ‘Cambodia Sings!’ A not for profit organisation aiming to ‘rekindle the love of singing for all Cambodians’.
It was a life changing experience for many, myself included.
By the end of 2017 as we had over 1000 children singing joyfully and passionately every week. It was inspiring!
Children came from local NGO schools & surrounding slums throughout Phnom Penh.
It was amazing to see the appetite for singing. The joy and excitement of the children was contagious. They simply want the opportunity to be seen and heard, and to express themselves creatively.
A true demonstration of the healing power of music to bring about creative expression and the courage to dream again.
ABOUT CAMBODIA & PHNOM PENH
The other side of Phnom Penh is witnessing so many Khmer people live in horrendous conditions.
Cambodia was once known as the ‘Jewell of Asia’ with a rich culture and history. The civil war associated with the Pol Pot regime of 1975-79 decimated over 2 million people. 90% of artisans and educated professionals were killed.
Thousands were left orphaned.
Now, 40 years on she is slowly trying to recover.
MEET MY TUK TUK DRIVER- SAMNANG
During my work in Phnom Penh I met a young man Samnang, who became one of my regular tuk tuk drivers.
He struck me as intelligent and delightful with his colourful, broken English.
At last a tuk driver who could understand my Aussie accent!
Samnang was reliable, enthusiastic and always extremely grateful for the work. Day after day he looked after me on dusty pot- holed streets, through torrential rains, insane traffic and tropical heat.
Making the most of the inevitable traffic jams in Phonm Penn , gave me the opportunity to learn from Samnang about his life. He was separated from his family through the war when he was five, effectively orphaned and has never been able to re-connect with his family to know if they survived or not.
Having no family support or guidance, Samnang makes the best decisions he can in his life. Becoming a tuk tuk driver, despite its meagre financial rewards, was one of those decisions.
He lives in his tuk tuk with a hammock that he strings up for sleeping.
Tuk driving & living is very dangerous and tiring. During the day, the traffic and exposure to the elements is intense, and at night the streets are not the safest place to sleep.
Around 80% of Cambodia is under the age of 30yrs of age. It places Samnang at a disadvantage due to the competitive nature he operates in.
This revolving cycle of survival is hard to break without assistance. I would like to assist him in starting on a path with a future.
In an attempt to improve his employment opportunities and overall life situation, Samnang has been taking English lessons. Demands of driving and the need to earn some money for rent and food, prohibits his regular attendance at these lessons. Samnang has the capacity and desire to study English and has around 12 months to complete his studies. This will give him a Certificate from the Australian English College in Phnom Penh.
OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY AND GROW
We each flourish when we have someone who believes in us, and at times we just need a hand up. Samnang looked after me carefully as a driver, for which I’m very grateful.
Now I’d like to assist him in this opportunity for education by setting this crowd funding in motion.
REPORTING ON SAMNANG'S ENGLISH PROGRESS
I will keep you updated on Samnang’s educational progress
I'm aiming to run this fundraiser for 4 weeks, 8 October- 5 Nov 2018
HOW WILL FUNDS BE USED?
English classes = A$580
Accommodation & Transport to classes (a second hand motorbike- his tuk tuk is broken) = A$920
In the event that extra funds are raised, then the money will be provided to Samnang to supplement food and ongoing study materials.
Thank you for your generous hearts.
A deep bow.
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