Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cambodia Service-Learning - version 7

On June 5 I returned to Hong Kong from Rwanda.  One June 6 I landed in Cambodia for another Service-Learning project.  

We have been taking students here since 2010, so this is the 7th year and our contingent is the largest yet.  We have students from our university - Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HK), Washington University at St Louis  and Brown University (USA), Haifa University (Israel), Sichuan University (China), Royal University of Phnom Penh and Human Resource Development Institute (Cambodia) - a total of 70 students from 7 schools in 5 countries/regions.  

We are inspecting the solar electrical charging stations that we installed last year on Silk Island, fixing some of the problems, and re-wiring the charging station for better efficiency. 

We are buying 2 used cargo containers to use as a community learning center.  We will be installing solar panels for electrical power, installing computers and e-resources for learning, and training local teachers to use the learning centre. 

We are interviewing some of the villagers to assess the community needs and impact of the systems that we installed. 

We are designing and installing lighting fixtures by embedding LED lights in dead palm branches and coconut shells - promoting sustainable development in the process.  

We are training many local students in the assembly and installation of solar electrical systems, LED lighting fixtures, and the computer systems in the learning centres.  On the one hand, they can help us maintain the systems after we are gone.  On the other hand, we are helping them to acquire useful skills for further development.  

We will be writing up the stories of village life, the projects that we carry out, more stories about our students as well as the local students and the impact of the installations on the community - using communication to promote development.  

All of these are just some of the projects that our university is carrying out in Cambodia this summer.  Another team is teaching English at a primary school next to the Stung Meancheay garbage dump.  A team is helping with some construction work as poverty relief in a village south of Phnom Penh.  A team is helping with the diet of families living in a slum in San Sok village.  A team of staff is also here …  All together there are more than 150 staff and students coming to Cambodia for service-learning projects. 

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