Chea San wrote -
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
Founded in 2004 by graduate students from Stanford University, Southeast Asian Leadership Network (SEALNet) aims to foster the spirits of service leadership in future leaders of the Southeast Asian community, and has organized its activities in ASEAN nations the last 12 years.
A REASON TO MAKE THIS PROJECT A MUST:
San: I was born and raised in a poor background family and then mobilized into a middle class one. I personally grow up in an environment where the poor struggles to get out of the poverty while the middle class struggles to get out of the "rat race." I view myself as a lucky seed which grows through experiencing the disturbing truth of poverty and fighting along with my family to overcome poverty. This has inspired me to become a leader of several volunteering projects which work towards supporting the value of volunteerism, as well as paving a way for me to contribute back to the society and especially the people who are living the life that I went through. I was once asked by a street kid "Why does he need to go to school while he can make 20$ a day on the street?" And I realized that promoting the value of education in this nation is no longer an obligation, but a must. Everyday, more than thousands of underprivileged children scatter around Phnom Penh city selling flowers, lottery tickets, raincoats during raining season, or running around traffic light with duster in their hand bagging for money after cleaning people’s vehicles. They still live off the streets despite receiving education, which subsequently de-motivates their learning aspirations.
Project Cambodia 2016 (Phnom Penh) will focus on the three key words: slum children, inspiration and education, which will be the most prominent throughout the two-week workshops. Although many children from slum communities in Cambodia are able to grant access to education through NGOs’ support, they still face with the danger of having to make a living on the streets which hinders a prospective future ahead of them due to financial struggles. Wishing to improve the situation, the project aims at inspiring the slum children in Phnom Penh through equipping them with essential skills which will help them to have fun and engage more in general learning, e.g. painting, drawing, coding and role playing etc. Moreover, we aspire to help the underprivileged children to acknowledge the vast opportunities which education brings about and also for the slum children to realize their limitless potential. Our main purpose is to provide the slum children with a more positive outlook into the world outside of their slum community through story-telling and mentorship. Project Cambodia 2016 (Phnom Penh) hopes to offer the slum children and also team members the chance to develop personal growth through inspiring and being inspired from each other. As we believe that “every person has a story to tell, a lesson to teach and a dream to share”, we hope to carry the impact in which the slum children and team members will be empowered by each other’s stories through our personal mentorship system.
Slum community The slum communities that the project will be working with are slum children who still live off the streets despite receiving education, which subsequently de-motivates their learning aspirations. There are also many slum kids who do not see the value of education and prefer making a living on the streets to earn fast money. Throughout the service curriculum, all members will be closely exposed to the slum community children and strive to make a difference in these communities. The team members will get to personally engage with a group of children ranging from age 7 to 11 in a local organization which gathers slum children to receive their education programme. Our partner organization provides some financial compensations to the parents in exchange for the slum children to study. Project Cambodia 2016 (Phnom Penh) hopes to nurture in the slum children a growing interest in learning and also inspire them with the possibilities that an educated life could bring. High school students in Cambodia & Vietnam At the academically stressful environment at high schools in Vietnam and Cambodia, students do not get enough opportunities to explore and develop themselves through expressive activities and community service. This also restricts students from discovering who they are and ultimately, their purposes for contribution as change-agents. We hope to provide the students with essential leadership skills and empower them to return as project leaders in their own communities. More importantly, the high school students are given chances to reflect upon themselves and hopefully find the answer to the question “Who am I?”.
VISION AND OBJECTIVES:
- Inspire the slum children to develop an interest and realize the meaning of education, hence producing a lifelong impact.
- Promote the spirit of volunteerism and SEALNet’s culture to the high school (mentees) and university students (mentors) across the world.
- Empower both high school and university students to become potential leaders with well-equipped skills and a concrete understanding about the issue to return and support the similar communities in their locations .
- Create a safe environment that provokes a family-like sense of belonging in order for the slum children and project members to inspire each other while being inspired.
- Raise at least $2000 for our partner organization to support the slum children financially.