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business support for Treak Community Centre (BA)

Location: Cambodia
Project type: business & administration
Price from: £1048.00 - details below


Volunteer with locally run business projects aiming to reduce their dependence on foreign support and develop the expertise to become self-sustainable.


Skills required

We work closely with the local people who manage these projects, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs:

Many abilities and skills will be welcomed by this holistic community support project to help them deliver their wide range of programme activities - for example:
  • marketing, fundraising, proposal writing
  • teaching
  • building trades, DIY, gardening enthusiasts
  • artists / drama / musicians (for workshops and to help include these into the English lessons where appropriate)
  • health care professionals - for our basic health and hygiene programme - heavy restrictions preclude practising medicine
  • sport coaches - there is a football team that plays in the local NGO league at weekends
  • life skills of all kinds will be welcomed
     
Basic requirements for all of the above: enthusiasm, flexibility, patience!

Main project details

Treak Community Centre is all about creating opportunities for local people, rather than dependency. The project is ongoing and works to help people learn new skills, also increasing their own abilities, self-confidence and feelings of self-worth in the hope that these attributes will enable them to take control of their own futures.  The education programmes at Treak enable local village people to obtain decent jobs, especially in the tourism industry in nearby Siem Reap.  These jobs are helping to break the cycle of poverty that runs across much of rural Cambodia.  Treak would also welcome support from volunteers with business skills to help build the capacity of their own administrative staff and help them with long-term business planning.
 
Treak Community Centre operates the following programmes, all of which are free for the students:
  • School - focusing on teaching English and IT (around 300 children)
  • Nursery - kindergarten education for 50 children, especially for the poorest families, encouraging engagement in education 
  • Library - many families in the village don't own a single book and the children are hungry for the opportunity to read 
  • IT classes - basic IT training
  • Community Support Programme - provides employment, training, and food for poor villagers
Though Treak's main activities are in providing education, as the centre operates in a poor village, they get people in real crisis coming to them for assistance: no money, no food, no baby milk, sickness, family bereavement etc. 
 
Treak offers help through their Community Support programme, of which the main component is the garden programme - showing how people with little or no land can grow food for their families.  It's most important function however is to enable people to receive help with dignity as anyone needing assistance has to work in the garden.  The project manager, Salin, wants people to contribute in some way for the help they get by working at the centre etc. 
 
Daily Timetable    Monday to Friday 
Nursery classes 8.00 to 11.00 
English classes 8.00 to 11.00, (lunch break 11.00 to 1.00), then 1.00 to 3.00 with optional 5.00 to 6.00
Library 1.00 to 4.00 
Staff meetings held every Friday morning for staff and volunteers.
All teaching staff speak good English and will help with translation in the lessons. 
 
The school was on rented land with a 5 year lease due to expire in 2017.  After much fundraising they were able to buy some land directly behind the current site and they are building a completely new school on the land that has been bought.  This is now a permanent school for the children in Treak village, built of bricks and concrete, which is especially important as the village doesn't have a government primary school.  The school consists of a 2 story block of rooms containing 4 classrooms, a nursery/kindergarten, library, IT room, and dining room.  There will also be a small office and kitchen.  Building started early in 2016 and is almost complete with just one block still to build and some landscaping left to do.  When this is completed the rooms currently used for the nursery, IT room and library will move to the new block, leaving a building on the edge of the school site which will be used for community education classes.  The school is being built by local people, including making their own bricks.
 
The new buildings will enable the school to improve and expand their education programmes, and they are also particularly keen to develop ways to help the women of the village, especially those with young children to look after.  

You can also volunteer on this project from home through our e-volunteer programme.  For more information about e-volunteering click here.

Context

Cambodia's bloody history has had a massive effect on the country's infrastructure, as well as on its citizens in very specific and personal ways.  During the Khmer Rouge rule Cambodia experienced a traumatic and unforgettable genocide that changed the country forever.  Approximately 1.7 million people were killed in a little less than four years.
 
Thirty years later, Cambodia still struggles to provide basic education and healthcare for its people.  Literacy is a significant issue, with the majority of Cambodia's illiterate population living below the poverty line, in remote and rural areas.  Without improving the access to and quality of affordable education and healthcare, there is very little hope of Cambodia pulling itself out of poverty.  The lack of clean water and adequate sanitation is still a major health risk in the majority of rural villages.
 
More than one third of Cambodians live below the poverty line, struggling to survive on less than $1 a day.  Economic poverty is especially pervasive in rural areas and among children, who constitute more than half the country's population.
 
According to UNICEF, Cambodia has the highest infant and under-five mortality rates in the region, at 97 and 141 per 1,000 live births respectively.  Vaccine-preventable diseases, diarrhoea and respiratory infections are among the leading causes of childhood death.  Maternal mortality is also high.
 
Cambodia's main income generating industries are textiles and tourism.  The long-term development of the economy after decades of war remains a daunting challenge, as the population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure.  More than 60% of the population still gets by on subsistence farming.

'I absolutely loved my experience at Treak Community Centre.  I was welcomed by all and given all the support and information I needed to feel right at home straight away.' Volunteer, Sophie

Whether you have skills in community work, business, education or health care, are retired or in work and looking for a career break, you can share your skills and experience with local staff in this community development project. Other skills and experience will be welcomed too - take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. 

Minimum duration

minimum 4 weeks recommended - depending on your skills, shorter trips could be arranged.

Living Conditions

You will stay at a locally owned, family run guest house. A simple breakfast is included - simple and cheap lunch and dinner are available  onsite  from as little as $3.00 - however there are many local restaurants where you can eat for as little as $6.00

You will have your own basic private shower and WC with TV, fan and wifi.Air conditioning is available at an additional $4.00 per day

Alternative accomodation can be arranged at small hotels with air conditioning and a swimming pool and that added comfort you may need from an additional $200 per week.

Project costs

from £1048 for 4 weeks based on bed and breakfast, single guesthouse accommodation 

Please note sterling prices are an estimate based on the dollar prices below at an exchange rate of $1.30 to £1.00
Read about our costs and pricing policy here - watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson

Returning volunteers will receive a 25% reduction in project management and matching fees
Additional weeks are costed at a sliding reducing rate. Please ask for details.

Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in transport and taxes outside our control.

Included: bed and breakfast guesthouse, airport transfers, full local orientation & child protection workshop, social event, local SIM card, project & placement liaison.
Your contribution will fund the work of the programme and purchase the materials you will need.

How your money is spent based on 4 weeks
$224  - direct costs in Cambodia (transfers, accommodation, orientation & child protection workshop information packs)
$400- project management, liaison & supervision in Cambodia
$400 - project contribution in Cambodia
£260 - recruitment, matching & project development in UK

Not included: flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, daily transport to the project - this can be arranged during the matching process. 

If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project please contact us at sallie@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk

Recommended reading

http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/reading.htm has a great reading list
check out slideshare - youtube - our blog - facebook for volunteer interviews & project news


Project gallery



Registered volunteers can learn about the local team for this project - LOG ON to learn more about this project and the local team we work with. Not registered yet? It's easy and free HERE!


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