On March 4-10, a service learning team from Hong Kong International School traveled to Cambodia to serve with CWEF in Kampong Taben village. To begin, the team took time to learn more about the history and culture of Cambodia by in Phnom Penh. Next they traveled Kampong Taben to serve alongside community members.During this time, the HKIS students helped to install biosand filters at ten homes in the village and taught English and health lessons at the local primary school. The team also visited Angkor Wat before returning to Hong Kong. The team served alongside residents in Kampong Taben for two and a half days.
CWEF has been working in Kampong Taben village for six years. Over these six years, CWEF facilitated an animal gift program in the village and surrounding communities. During this trip, the HKIS students were able to expand the relationship between CWEF and Kampong Table primary school. The HKIS students taught lessons emphasizing the importance of clean drinking water and hygiene to the primary school students.
This service learning trip provided an opportunity for CWEF to expand partnership into the community by helping residents to build the biosand filters at ten homes. In Kampong Taben, many residents collect water from wells. Although they have access to water, they do not have a way to ensure the water is safe to drink. The biosand filters are an effective and sustainable way to clean the water, ensuring it is safe to drink. Each of the biosand filter recipients attended a training on how to maintain the filters and the importance of safe drinking water to reduce the risk of water borne diseases and illnesses.
CWEF hopes that through the continued partnership in Kampong Taben, the community will be transformed through improved literacy and health!
by Carl Hanson, CWEF board chairperson
Many people have noted that working for CWEF is more like being a part of a family rather than an organization. This sentiment is especially evident when we see people leave CWEF after many years of faithful service. Ms. Persephone James, who served CWEF for over two years as our third full-time Executive Director and after an even longer time as interim Executive Director, Board Member and Director of Fund Development, is now back in the US following God’s calling on her life.
What I appreciated about Ms. James most was the level of dedication she made to CWEF, and even more the level of dedication she drew out of others, including myself. She never tired of encouraging us to do more and do it well. Under her leadership CWEF, was able to navigate tremendous change and do so with grace and faithfulness to the core values that have been at the heart of all of CWEF’s work since its foundation.
CWEF really is a family, a learning community. We grow together as we learn more about each other and the people we seek to serve. Together we learn how to overcome the natural obstacles that are a part of everyday life by building one another up and the communities where we work. While we are all different, we are stronger together as we learn together how to appreciate the gift that God has made of each of our lives for the purpose of serving our neighbor. While Ms. James has returned to the US in order to care for family, please join me in thanking her for her dedicated service and in wishing her all of God’s blessings in all the new endeavors He has entrusted her to do.
In January 2016, CWEF staff established a literacy program at Sna Kandal primary school in Tboung Khmum province, Cambodia. The goal of the program is not only to help students improve their reading and writing in Khmer but to improve their overall learning quality through literacy.
When the literacy program was established in January, more than 90 percent of the 35 students in the program could not read even one sentence in a story book. With the resources and literacy mentor provided by CWEF, most of the students showed improvement in their reading and writing and nearly half of the students were at grade level by the end of the year.
In November, CWEF staff met with the literacy mentor and the students and asked them to share some of the great changes they saw in themselves. One of the participants, Chat Sreynuon, told the CWEF staff before she joined the literacy program she could not read and would only look at the pictures in the school library books. She was happy to report, she now enjoys reading and can read the school library books without difficulty.
CWEF will continue to support the students at Sna Kandal primary school as the literacy program enters its second year.