Debbie Alcorn - recent volunteer at VDCA
I contacted VDCA to work as a volunteer for a month in January 2015.
They sent me plenty of information about the 2 schools and what to expect.
They provide all volunteers with an induction day, where you get to visit both the schools and discuss your programme with them, it is important to them that you do what best suits you.
On my visit to Anlung Pi, the school set up by the rubbish dump, I was overwhelmed by the amazing kids and dedicated teachers, and knew this was where I wanted to work.
I had no previous experience as a teacher, and am a tour guide by profession.
But after just a few days and made to feel so welcome, I started assisting teaching the kids alongside my amazing teacher Salun.
The days went so quickly, lessons, preparation for lessons, helping with the hygiene programme, doing chores alongside the other teachers, cleaning, washing up after lunch, drawing the water from the well, I felt I was part of the team.
It was the most amazing experience, I learnt more about the way of life, especially being in a rural location. Travelled to school on the back of a motorbike with my teacher. I formed beautiful relationships with the kids, the teachers and felt at the end of my time that I had a new family, I was so enriched by the whole experience.
My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering with VDCA is DO IT !!!
You will not regret your decision and it may change your life.
A few tips :- Be open minded, respect the culture and traditions, go with the flow and don't try to impose western ways on the Khmer run school, but by all means make suggestions for any changes that may be beneficial. Try to do a little research about Cambodia, it's turbulent past, and the difficulties today that the beautiful Cambodians face daily, the poorest country in SE Asia, no free education, no free medical care etc.
SMILE, a smile to the kids means they respond with one, and the most beautiful smiles you will ever see.
Lastly, try to donate money to the project, you will see that every cent goes straight into the programme, a legacy to the dedication of the amazing founder Mr Togh Main, the most inspiring man I have ever met, and in my opinion an angel walking this earth.
My heartfelt thanks to you all, for allowing me to become part of your amazing project, and for all that you have done and continue to do for the people of Cambodia, enriching lives and making dreams come true......