Beatrice came to Asia for the first time this past year to volunteer with PLF. Here’s what she had to say about her volunteer experience!

“From November 26th to December 16th, 2017 I was able to realise my dream to be a volunteer at the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Cambodia. I landed in Siem Reap on November 26th. My first visit to Asia showed me, within a few minutes from the airport to the centre, how different Cambodia is. A wild mix of tuk tuks, bicycles, cars, trucks and mopeds, one loaded with about 20 chickens, alive, accompanied me on the ride to the Seven Candles Guesthouse. While walking through Siem Reap the next day, my first impressions of the city were confirmed! Lively, pulsating, loud and hot. I was, during a visit to a pagoda, unexpectedly invited by a family to a birthday meal and learned exciting things about the country and its people. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to taste the various delicacies and got to know the cordiality and generosity of the Cambodians.

Beatrice Volunter Crafts Masks

On Tuesday, I went for the first time by tuk tuk to Khnar Village Learning Centre to teach children in “Arts & Crafts”. What an enriching experience! We created, drew, played, danced and – not to forget – laughed a lot over the language barriers during these three weeks. The children were especially enthusiastic about the duck dance, so, often we finished our lessons dancing. It was very rewarding for me to see the joy, curiosity and motivation with which the students discovered and learned new things every day in the Khnar Village Learning Centre. The children left the school ground, on the bicycles financed by the Ponheary Ly Foundation, with new pieces of art in their luggage.

Beatrice Volunteer Crafts

A visit to Koh Ker, another school that benefits from the Foundation’s food, bicycles and medical programmes, couldn’t be missed. It was wonderful to see the children’s appetite for Fried Chicken, one of their favourite menus, and to see the children’s glowing eyes and smiling faces. They also thought, however, of their parents and younger siblings at home and packed leftovers from their lunch into plastic bags. After the meal, teeth were diligently brushed and hands and feet were washed in the schoolyard, something they did not know or know sufficiently before Ponheary Ly Foundation got involved.

I am very grateful to have seen and experienced what Ponheary Ly Foundation is doing together with Eyes Open. I am convinced that their approach is effective and progressive and can heartily recommend the Foundation for support.”

To learn more about volunteering with PLF, check out our volunteering page

Or if you read Swiss-German, check out the original article on Eyes-Open’s website, here!