Miri – 17 March 2016 – The Humanitarian Affairs Student Chapter of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently kicked off 2016 with its ‘Changing Cambodia’ cross-border volunteer programme in Cambodia.
Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak Student Chapter (HACS) is part of Humanitarian Affairs, United Kingdom – a London-based social enterprise that initiates and supports humanitarian relief efforts and development programmes in poverty-stricken and disaster-prone countries. HACS provides students at Curtin Sarawak opportunities to engage in humanitarian service, strengthen their awareness of diverse cultures, and develop a lifelong commitment to helping others.
For ‘Changing Cambodia’, 22 HACS volunteers partnered with Hospitals Beyond Borders (HBB) and Sovanapoom Care to promote health and literacy in underprivileged communities in Phnom Penh.
The former is a Cambodia-based non-profit organisation based run by Malaysian youths while the latter is a community education centre founded by Australian couple John and Tess Castledine that has been equipping Khmer people to care for their own orphans, widows and those in need since 1998.
‘Changing Cambodia’ included a ‘Teach English’ programme carried out in collaboration with Sovanapoom Care, under which 50 Khmer children aged 4 to 15 got to hone their English speaking and writing skills.
Apart from basic classroom instruction, the HACS volunteers carried out a games-based method of teaching English aimed at increasing the children’s enthusiasm for the language while improving their communication and leadership skills.
“I have participated in a number of volunteer abroad programmes in the past involving children but I had never seen the kind of energy and enthusiasm the Khmer children put into learning English,” said programme organiser Michelle Hee Jian Hui.
Collaboration with HBB, meanwhile, involved conducting surveys of each household in the Sangkat Chrang Chamreh region. The volunteers also helped monitor the blood pressure and glucose levels of first-time mothers and pregnant women. The data collected from the survey will be used by HBB to design future programmes and services specifically for the communities within the area.
Volunteer Akram Akbari said humanitarian programmes like ‘Changing Cambodia’ are excellent ways for organisations like HACS and their members to give back to society.
“To be associated with HACS as a volunteer was akin to returning a favour to the community,” she said.
Head of Module and HACS Vice President of Special Events, Sakti Satesh Rames, remarked that the Curtin Sarawak volunteers were privileged to have had the opportunity to carry out community service abroad.
Sakti also thanked programme sponsors Norrizah Nordin and Kueh Chie Tiong for helping fund ‘Changing Cambodia’ and the Leadership and Entrepreneurship Centre (LEC) at Curtin Sarawak for its support.
For more information on HACS, visit its Facebook page and Instagram (@humanitarianaffairs.curtin) or email [email protected]
科廷大学（澳洲大学马来西亚分校） Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia