16 Aussie high school graduates visited Cambodia to help Cambodian students
 
Daniel Cheong (정다니엘)/크리스찬리뷰
By Daniel Cheong (정다니엘)
Co-founder of Project Unwritten


Dawn was breaking on Sunday, the 3rd of December. At the heart of Sydney International Airport, the team from Project-Unwritten prepared to depart for Cambodia, deciding to fight against the status quo of local parties and overseas holidays. Instead, the passionate and excited high-school graduates were on a volunteering mission to Cambodia as part of Project-Unwritten’s Global-Unwritten program.
 
Project-Unwritten is a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 by 5 high school students and the organisation’s vision is to motivate youth, both domestically and internationally, through our message of “Empowerment through Passion”.
 
The trip to Cambodia this year was the start of a World Series called ‘Global-Unwritten’ where we aim to send volunteers all over the Asian Pacific region including countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam within the next 5 years.
 
The trip was facilitated by Daniel Cheong and Michael Chan, the two co-founders of Project-Unwritten which meant that the oldest member on the team was 18 years of age. Despite the young age, from the 3rd to the 15th of December, we were ready for a truly eye-opening experience.
 
The team of 16 went to schools and held workshops for 1,900 high school students and 100 primary school students across 3 different provinces. We visited 2 private schools, Ewha Srang High School from the Kampong Speu Province and Hope School in Phnom Penh.
 
We also visited a public school called Pursat High School in the Pursat Province. At each of these schools, we ran workshops in the broad categories of Recreation, Study skills and Personal Development.
 
Through these workshops, we left our marks on Cambodia by transferring our 13 years of education to the Cambodian students.
 
Through the newly developed Global-Unwritten program, our organisation seeks to have a two-fold impact on both the students in disadvantaged communities, as well as Australian students.
 
On one side, Project-Unwritten wants to motivate, inspire and equip students overseas with the tools to effectively study as they build their own future in a tough economic and social environment. We want to challenge students to consider what their future career may be, and what their vision for their life is.
 
On the other side, Project-Unwritten wants to take Australian students on this international program to give them the opportunity to witness firsthand the living conditions, culture, and level of education within a third world country.
 
We believe that engagement with children who live in a world so different to ours will empower students to realise their potential to make a change - whether big or small. These experiences will allow one to appreciate their own social standing and the fortune of being in a country like Australia.
 
During the trip, the team also experienced unique facets of Cambodia. We visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn of the history of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Genocide. We also visited Hebron Hospital and were challenged to make a change after hearing stories about how the doctors from South Korea volunteered their time to save Cambodian lives.
 
The Russian Market was also an eye opening experience as we witnessed the hub of retail business in Phnom Penh through first hand bargaining negotiations. 
 
The Wooden Train at Pursat and the Boat Cruise Dinner at Mekong River offered scenic views for the students to witness the beauty of Cambodia that so often goes unnoticed.
Furthermore, due to the support of friends, family and donators, Project-Unwritten was able to contribute 1,000 USD to each of the private schools, funding essential equipment such as chairs and tables for the students to use. In addition, we donated a PC desktop and monitor to both Pursat High school and the Pursat Provincial Department of Education.
 
Overall, the 12 day volunteering mission was a jam-packed experience, with phenomenal lessons learnt by both Australian graduates and the Cambodian students. This is only the start of a world series, and Project-Unwritten is very excited for the grand landscape of opportunities that lie ahead of us as we aim to broadcast our vision of “Empowerment through Passion” across all countries.
 
There were many important individuals that contributed to the success of this program. Amongst them are the two co-founders and program facilitators from Project-Unwritten, President of Project-Unwritten advisory board (Pastor. James Jisoo Cheong), Principals of Hope School(Mrs. Yongsoon KIM and Mr. Manho LIM), Principal of Ewha Srang High School (Mrs. You Sun KIM) and Principal of Pursat High School (Takmony AING).
 
In addition, Project-Unwritten would not have been able to carry out their workshops without the endorsement of Pursat Community of the Churches led by Pastor Sanou Leng and the Department of Education, Sport and Youth of Pursat Province. These experiences reinforced the need for external support and Project-Unwritten believes that by cooperating together, we can change the future of Cambodia.
 
All in all, the team of recent high school graduates had a challenging experience of living in tough conditions which created truly humbling experiences for us that left a meaningful impact on our lives.
 
“…It was only 3 days but it was good for me cause I can improve my English speaking…”
  - Sathya Sat (Year 11 student at Pursat High School)
 
“…Your passion and influence has spread on us and motivated us to
follow what we love.”
  - Ear Linton (Year 12 student at Pursat High School)
 
“…I finally learnt to work effectively in a team environment which I was never able to learn in high school”
  - Michelle Huynh (Project-Unwritten Volunteer, Burwood High School Graduate)
 
“Despite the language barriers, we built strong bonds with the kids. The biggest thing I’ve learnt was not to underestimate the children only because they are living in a developing country.”
 
- Jenny Hwang (Project-Unwritten Volunteer, Carlingford High School Graduate) 



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기사입력: 2017/12/28 [16:03]  최종편집: ⓒ christianreview