Year-end 2011 Newsletter

Homestay Volunteer Teachers Organization or HVTO, is a registered non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) situated in Sophy village, in the rural Cambodian countryside. HVTO develops and manages several different projects to help the poorest Cambodian community to improve their quality of life and to enable them to sustain themselves independently. Reducing poverty and increasing knowledge is the aim. Education is the answer. HVTO’s development projects create job opportunities for local people.

It has been a successful 2011, the third year since HVTO was created in 2008 and our teams are highly committed to bring a change for people in the community.

So take a short moment to look at what we have done so far and we would be very happy to share with you our projects, stories, activities, important development and future plan in our organization for 2012.

HVTO Newsletter 2011

  • Words from HVTO founder
  • Free Education Program
  • School supplies for children -Foreign Volunteer Teachers
  • Small library for children -Free computer Class
  • Providing Certificate -Sponsorship Program
  • Clean Water Project -TomandoConciencia gave bikes to kids
  • HVTO provided dictionaries to children -Tourism in Community
  • Seal of Love provided food to people
  • Toilette built by Australian volunteers.
  • HVTO New Center
  • Mr. Robin Walker visited HVTO
  • Financial Status for 2012
  • Conclusion

 

Personal Note:

It was some time in August 2011, when I had a short holiday from my hectic work and I took my whole family to visit the floating villages in Chhong Kneas commune. Above is a picture of my wife, Meng Seakly, and me standing on the boat.

Tourism is growing in Siem Reap Angkor Cambodia, as a trilingual tour guide, I am busier and busier from month to month but I am happy to see that our family condition is growing a bit better. What it makes me even more satisfied and full of smile is when I see my sibling grows better with their educations.

Beside my great parents, I repeat the same words honoring Dr. Renate Soeder, Ken Widowson and Robin Walker who supported me to get better educated compared with my hundred of friends from the same village and to have opportunity to see the bigger world.

To lessen my financial responsibility, there are some people who have helped my family. I thank Ms. Monica from Mexico who supports my sister to become professional tailor, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Felipe Barrios from Columbia; our brother continues his studies in the medical faculty. With great help from Simon Johnson and Ranjeeta Johnson from England, our sister attends to learn university accounting.

So in the short term, as long term is not yet defined, I very much look forwards to grow with my actual profession, as a Tour Guide who speaks English, German and Spanish to earn a living and to continue supporting my big blended-family. I like to have friends all over the world and keep learning from each other. My job does not only help me to get out of great poverty but it helps me to go far beyond to help my community.

HVTO :

it has been a wonderful three years that HVTO has been helping the community. Our successful activities in the last three years include providing free English classes to over five hundred children and 50 of them become the core students who will help us for the following years;

 

providing school materials from note-books to bicycles to several poor children in the villages; coordinating to have 13 foreign volunteers to come and stay in the village to help with the projects; Providing two free computer training courses for 120 participants who are the same students from the English classes and these students are able to learn from typing, Office Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Power Point and installing programs; having 11 foreign sponsors to pick 13 poor students to continue their studies both in the secondary and high school or in the university also; providing a small library with books to children to read and gain more knowledge; providing 207 water pumps for 400 families or over four thousand people to have clean water for their every day lives; providing food to the poorest families during the bad flood of 2011; helping the community committee to build the infrastructures and etc.

Even though this success is very small and we have nothing to compare with other big organizations, but I would like to say that we should be very proud for all of us to have been able to do something for our people on earth. Especially on behalf of one of the members after the Khmer Regime, I grew up to feel a sense of responsibility to help my people, my country after a great destruction and to redevelop Cambodia again. I try to become the most important role model for the younger generation. To succeed in this goal, I am very encouraged to focus on providing education opportunity. Even though HVTO can not provide them a higher education but at least we can bring the message of the importance of education for our people in the community.


I am willing to continue with HVTO as far as possible and to run HVTO, it seems to be strongly depending on my job. As a tour guide, more than earning the money for my personal families but having chance to meet people with generosity to help with HVTO also. I am very grateful to all the donors and friends who have come to be involved and made this project even more successful and recognized by local authority and people and I do hope that we can continue this mission in the following years.
With

 

With love and Respect – Sim Piseth

School supplies for our children

Besides providing free education programs, HVTO also provides school materials namely course books, note-books, pens, pencils, rulers and school uniforms for the children in our school.

To have all those school materials to supply to our children, our partners, most tour guides like Mr. Yun Sovanna always introduce our school programs to their tourists or bring them to visit the schools. With generosity from those kind tourists, they also helped to fund a lot of things in our projects. Those school materials are worth to over 3000$.

The picture was when HVTO deputy director Meng Seaknam delivered thousands of note-books and other school supplies to the teachers. But we still need help for the following years!

Free English Classes for our Children

It has been three years that HVTO has been providing free English classes to over five hundred students in the community and it is always a financial burden for HVTO teams to secure the money to run this program as it is a core program to show that HVTO is always active in the community and also to fund other projects like sponsorships and clean water projects.

2012 we end up with new way! HVTO will not throw hundreds of dollars to pay for our teachers any more but we use our older students to help teach the younger generation while we use money (donation) to help those volunteers' students to obtain higher education at least to let them finish their high school.

We still need your support to help our older students to get more qualification and then they will come back to help our center in the future.

Certificate of completion are provided to the students

Beside English, computer skill is also very important for our kids. It can help them to know technology and find a job. Until now, we found 30 computers for our students learnt how to use Microsoft word, excel and PowerPoint.

HVTO has 125 students in our community who are studying in public high school and studied English in our school. They got the certificates from our school. This skill and certification are very important for them because it can help their study, do research and find jobs in the city. We had selected the best students by doing an exam to choose the students to get certificates of computer skill in July, 2011 and January, 2012.

Sponsorship Program
" We help people who are dedicated to help others"

Give them the free English and computer education is not enough, Poor Students also need help from us to finish high school.
We still find sponsors to help our best selected students to finish their studies in public school.

Moeung Kunthea is 15 years old being sponsored by Mrs. Susi Ma and she is studying in grade 9 this year. We hope that she will be able to start teaching the younger children next year.

If you have one of our students, he/she is going to help others in the future. It is a multi useful program.

Tomando Conciencia provided bicycles and school supplies to the children via Homestay Volunteer Teachers Organization

Tomando Conciencia has played a very important role in helping our community in the past five years. Namely in 2006 group of TomandoConciencia came to volunteer to build a school in Sophy village; 2007 helped to start an English Class in Chhuk village; 2007 financed a heart operation for a boy named Little Ang; 2008 funded an HVTO teacher for free English Classes and built 20 water pumps in the villages.

It was some time in July 2011, I got an email from Carlos Sanchez, the founder of TomandoConciencia, to say that one of his friends would like to have a look at any projects that provide physic courses to the children and he would fund for this project. He also asked HVTO to send a proposal.

HVTO did not have any physic course for the children but I thought something related is to buy the bicycle for the children. So we sent the proposal to TomandoConciancia to buy bicycles for the poor children whose parents can not afford.

We did not know what happened to a friend of his but later on we saw that TomandoConciencia created some events to fundraise to fulfill the proposal. A few months later, we received good news from Carlos Sanchez to say that they have raised certain amount of money to buy some bicycles for the poor children in Sophy village.

In late November 2011, TomandoConciencia sent their representatives led by Jose Soriano, Jesehp and Rebeca to Cambodia. For a full week HVTO and TomandoConciencia representatives worked very hard from the purchasing the bicycles, school materials, transport these materials from the city to the village, selecting the poor children to receive the bicycles and school materials and finally on 5 November 2011, HVTO , community committee and local authorities worked together to hold a big meeting participate by the governor of Prasat Bakong district and finally 2011 we have provided 70 bicycles and school bags to 70 poor students in our community.

It is one of the biggest joys brought to the parents and children in our community.

In the name of the people, I would like to wish all the members of TomandoConciencia to have good luck, success and long lives!

Providing Pocket Dictionaries to our children

One time, I went to visit the children at HVTO School in the village and I started to test them with some words in English and I found out that many students have not yet learned much vocabulary. So I thought that a Pocket Dictionary might help them to master more words, and then we (HVTO teams) started to collect funds to buy dictionaries for them. Thank to the generosity of the members and kind tourists whom we worked for, we could have collected over 500 dictionaries to supply to all our students in the program.

Tourists start to visit our community and school

HVTO is always trying to include our community into the itinerary of the tourists as to show them the real way of life and also to get financial support from those tourists.Sometimes those tourists find the visit to the village very fascinating and the high light of the trip.

What is community tour? You all can come to visit our students, schools, villages, and community whenever you have time and you are always welcome to see our village.

Those tour operators who send their group to visit the community and school; they should include the small budget to support HVTO.

We would like to say thank you to many people who have been supporting us so far!

 

New land and school were built by the joint between HVTO and Seal of Love Charitable Foundation.

A small piece of land was purchased to set up a new centre. A new school-building is under the construction and new philosophy has been set up (WE HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE DEDICATED TO HELP OTHERS) to apply to all the people we are helping in our community.

HVTO and Seal of Love Charitable Foundation will jointly work and run this new center and bringing the big benefit for the people in the village.
The story started like this: It was a blessing that Mr. Lawrence found our HVTO website very interesting in Hong Kong and then he traveled to Cambodia to visit the existing school.

At the beginning, we were trying to extend the area close to our centre but with the complication caused by other parties, we were not allowed to purchase that land. Finally we ended up buying other piece of land which is 500 metres away from our original school and now the budget to build the school has been finalized by Sol and HVTO is carrying out the construction with the local community committee.

The upcoming building comprises four rooms and will serve for the following projects:1. Computer Lab; 2. Library; 3. Sewing Class4. English Class for higher levels

It is one of our desires to bring all kinds of modern knowledge and technology to our children by setting up the internet connection in the future in this centre, so we are looking for sponsors to make this dream possible. Who can help?

Our current library is too small and we want to make it bigger as there are promising signs that there are lot of people would send lots of books to our centre, that is the reason for us to set up the library in this new school.

We are planning to set up a project to support the poor women in the community by creating the professional training courses like a sewing class and producing something to access to the market and generate income and to create the self-sustainable programs.

Robin Walker, Canadian HVTO founder, visited HVTO center in January 2012

Robin loves to share the experience he had and saw what is going on in our centre. Take few seconds to read what he said!

What a difference three years makes! It has been three years since I visited Siem Reap and HVTO. At that time, the English classes were taught in the public school next door and the first water pumps were being installed. Now HVTO has three classrooms in two separate buildings and a computer and small library. The HVTO website www.hvto.org contains more information on all its projects.

I was very impressed with the progress made by founder Sim Piseth. My son D'Arcy and I spent two days at the school in Streth Village, visiting classes at all levels from beginners to an advanced class taught by Un who also teaches the computer classes. The advanced class was very interesting, the students obviously enjoyed Un's animated teaching. Also impressive was Rothana, a student in the advanced class who was also teaching the beginners. All of the local teachers are to be congratulated for the time and effort they are putting into this project. We visited a site where they were building a new water pump. Thanks to a number of generous donors HVTO has now installed over 200 water pumps which is a huge bonus for the community.

Foreign Volunteer Teachers for our English Classes

It has been so active at the beginning of the year with foreign volunteers to coming and staying in our community to help with the English teaching but seemed to slow down at the end of the year.

It is always very helpful to have such professional teacher as Mr. Dany Mack (the picture on the left).

We have seen that it is a big benefit to have those volunteers helping in our center, so this year HVTO is appealing to look for those foreign volunteers come and help again. Our condition is : if the volunteer can stay more than two months, HVTO supporters would cover the expense for the host family. Why don't you consider coming and volunteering with us?

Small library for our children 

Just study in class for one hour is not enough for kids to improve their knowledge, so in 2010, HVTO has opened a small library which is very important for them to read and do research.

In 2011, we could see that they improved, and they like reading more. They can read English books better than in the first year.

Even though, our library is small but we have room for more books and your donation or surplus books still are very important for our kids. We are willing to find more reading-books for our students.

Our free Computer Classes for our children

By having seen that Computer Skill is the most needed now for our children for their upgrading of studies or job prospects, so HVTO set up this class in 2010. First it was Mrs. Susi Ma from UK who bought us a generator and HVTO and people built the room and then donors started to buy computers. Thanks to the support from Studiosus Foundation in Germany HVTO could buy 10 more computers and have funds to run this class for the last two years.

Some of the Studiosus Groups come and visit the community and school and they always include some donation to support this project. It is a very expensive program because we have to pay for diesel and electricity to run the computer and computer teachers and especially there are a lot of computers broken and need to be repaired but it is a big benefit to the young people here.

Clean Water Project

I was born in the village and lived with poor resources to collect water for the family. It is still a fact that around 70% of the Cambodian population has no access to clean water especially for those who live in the countryside and only small percentage of the population understand about importance of hygiene.

As a professional guide, I happened to see several hundred families around the temples have received clean water pumps from tourists or associations, other tour guides or other organization who were trying to help those people by explaining this problem to their tourists so that they would consider helping.

With this possible opportunity, I was committed to model this project and put it into HVTO program and seek help from people I was working for. Since this project was created, HVTO installed 15 water pumps in 2008, 2009 we installed 30; 2010 we installed 107 and 2011 we installed 45 and 2012 we just installed 8.

I will never give up and I am happy to continue looking for those generous people to help with this project because we can see that several hundred of poor families in the countryside are waiting for help from us.

I would like to express my great gratitude to all donors who helped HVTO so far to have this success for my community.

Seal of Love Charitable Foundation helps our community

Cambodia is one of the countries in South East Asia to suffer by the worst flood we ever had in the last 100 years. Thousand of hectares of rice-fields were destroyed and hundred of people were killed and infrastructures were also damaged. To help to reduced the sufferings and relieves from this destruction, HVTO has met Mr. Lawrence Chan from Hong Kong and he is the president of Seal of Love Charitable Foundation to help. Besides his financial support for the HVTO new centre he was also interested in helping to provide food supplies to the poorest people in the village or those who suffered by the floods. We have done this two times which included providing fifty poor families each received 50kg rice, frying oil, salt, garlic, canned fish, soy sauce, fish sauce and mosquito net.

Lawrence, our people are blessing you!!

New toilette was built by the Australian Volunteers for our children in the new centre.

HVTO has also created the Week Project for foreign volunteers to do something in our community. Those volunteers can choose to stay from three days to two weeks to execute the project they like and to gain more experience for themselves with our people. We have many things to offer like installation of hand water pump for the family, building a house for homeless family, building a compost toilette and constructing a school for the community. But however HVTO is open to accept your ideas and will coordinate to do what your groups like to do and we will try our best as long as you are bringing change and development in our community.

One day I was contacted by Julie Schrag through Facebook to say that she was interested in knowing what kind of things that her group of five could do for five or six days.

That time, HVTO has just purchased a piece of land to build the school and we need a toilette for this centre and then we have proposed a toilette project to Julie Schrag.
Toilette is one of the needy things in our community. We know that it is around 30% of the people in the village have toilette to use but the rest 70% still use the traditional way going into the bushes and small areas around the back of the house.
Having one toilette in our centre for hundred of children and our visitors or volunteers is a big concern, so we are very encouraged setting up this project and made it possible. Few weeks later we got the confirmation from Julie to say that her group would love to come and help build the toilette in our centre. The design was made and the price was agreed with the local constructor. On 1st December 2011 the group of Australian Volunteers arrived led by Julies Schrag.

Now we have a very fancy toilette for our centre and with generosity of this group, they still help to build a big water well in the centre also.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the group of volunteers from Australia namely Julie Schrag, Judy Backhouse, Phil and Anne Kearse and Janet Fitchat.

We are also looking forward to welcoming other volunteers to come and do something to help the people in the rural areas like Sophy and Sreth villages.

 

 

Thanks to the generosity of Lawrence Chan and his Seal of Love charitable Foundation, HVTO and SOL are jointly building a new school for senior students approximately 500 meters from the existing school. The land has been cleared, fill has been brought in and a washroom building has been constructed the Australian Volunteers led by Julie Schrag. Construction on the four room new school is expected to commence shortly.

The budget for this school has been finalized with the construction financed primarily by SOL. SOL has also funded scholarships to send students / teachers to continue their education.

The budget for the existing school has also been finalized for 2012. HVTO is looking forward to a very successful year in 2012. I am very pleased with what Sim Piseth, Seaknam Meng and HVTO teams have accomplished. They are putting much of their time and energy into the community which should be recognized.

If you are interested in HVTO projects and want more information, please contact me at robin.walker@gowlings.com or sim@hvto.org

HVTO needs funding to run these projects so donations are appreciated. We also encourage anyone who is interested in teaching to contact us. You can teach for any amount of time from a week to a month or longer. Judging from the testimonials from previous teachers, you will find it is a very rewarding experience. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely
Robin Walker

Conclusion

We are highly and transparently committed to make HVTO even more effective and successful for the following years to serve people in the community. Besides our own resources, we still need your assistance and your help will come to make us better. We encourage you to help one of our students to sponsor for few year and yours sponsored students will help hundred of other children right now and in the future. Thank you very much for your time to read our newsletter! We wish you to enjoy your love and life, success with your business, Stay healthy and be prosperous and happiness in the families!

Thank you very much!

                                  Sim Piseth                                                                                                                      Meng Seaknam

                                HVTO founder                                                                                                               HVTO deputy director 
                                sim@hvto.org                                                                                                              mseaknam@yahoo.com
                             +(855)974506969                                                                                                              +(855)977742969
 
# 132, Group 14, Sophy village, Kontreang commune,
Brasat Bakong district, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
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