HVTO Co Founder in Canada

Robin Walker, Canadian HVTO co-founder
I am a Canadian lawyer practising in Toronto who has visited Cambodia four times since 2006. It was during m
y first visit to Siem Reap in 2006 that I met Sim Piseth who was a tour guide with Indo China services.  I have the highes
t regard for Sim as a guide and as a person. He has met all four of my children in Cambodia at various times and has become a good friend to all of us.  As I got to know Sim, I discovered he had a keen desire to help his own people, especially in the villages of Sophy and Streth which are close to Siem Reap.  Because of this, he started HVTO in 2008.  Since that time I have been involved in many of the HVTO projects and working with Sim to produce the necessary paperwork to obtain government approvals and producing various newsletters and other reports to donors and volunteers. By acting as a sounding board and advisor to Sim, I have had first hand contact with the amazing work he is doing with this NGO.
As anyone knows who has travelled to Siem Reap, it is extremely important for Cambodian children to learn a foreign language, especially English.  It opens up a whole new world to them because this area depends almost entirely on tourism because of its proximity to Angkor Wat and other temples.  There are many jobs available in the hospitality and tourism industry if you are able to speak English.  The schools and the HVTO programme are helping in this regard.
Another of the early projects for HVTO was the installation of water pumps in the villages of Sophy and Streth and surrounding areas where we have now installed over 300 pumps.  We have had many donors over the years to enable us to do this. These pumps are relatively inexpensive to build and install, and each pump will service several families and provide clean safe drinking water. This helps increase sanitation and reduce disease in the villages.
Amazing progress has been made in the last two years with the construction of the second school by Lawrence Chan from Seal of Love Charitable Foundation, the bicycle project donated by Tomando Conciencia to allow the children to travel back and forth from school to their homes.  The Studiosus Foundation has been incredibly helpful in funding English core programmes and other parts of the school programme.  Nearly 2000 books have been donated to the library by BookBridge.  The number of student scholarships has increased and now is around 60. This greatly enables the students to further their education.
In addition, there are two very exciting projects on the horizon namely the construction of a third school on land behind the existing school area. This project which will cost nearly $40,000 is being fully funded by Viking River Cruises. In addition, Viking has greatly assisted HVTO by bringing tourists to the school since 2012 to see first hand what is being done by the NGO.  A number of the tourists have enthusiastically endorsed the projects and donated money.
Secondly, a college prep. programme will be instituted in Siem Reap in a rented house. This includes a new office for HVTO, a dormitory for a number of the sponsored students moving from the villages to Siem Reap for their higher education.  HTVO-U.S.A, an American charity with 501(c)3, is funding this programme along with the PEWT family trust from the U.K. This will enable the students to live and study in Siem Reap under the guidance of the HVTO personnel.
As you can see, although HVTO is a relatively new NGO, in its sixth year of operation it has made huge strides in providing higher education for students, clean water for the community and obtaining financial assistance from a  number of groups around the world who have become interested in the HVTO projects.
Sim, Seaknam and the other people involved in these projects are extremely committed, conscientious and incredibly hard working.  They have put an amazing amount of time into making HVTO a success and this should be recognized by these communities.
It is a privilege for me to be involved with HVTO and these projects.


                                                                        Robin D. Walker, Q.C.

                                                                        Email: robin.walker@paliareroland.com


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