Eight students working with Anjali House in Cambodia as part of Project Everest are now at the half way mark of their project and are working hard. Below is an update from Patrick Boyle about the experience so far;
“PROJECT EVEREST 15/07/15 – THE HALFWAY MARK
Fifteen days ago we arrived in Siem Reap. Ten travel-weary, sweat slicked and flushed faces. We arrived with one common, if somewhat vague, goal: To summit Project Everest. Now we have passed the halfway mark, that first day feels like a past life.
Week one was a scramble; some of us trying to find our feet in a foreign country, all of us trying to grapple with the actual problems facing the Anjali House. Anjali house is a non-profit organisation that works with 82 disadvantaged children in the Siem Reap area, providing free education, healthcare and food. At times I struggled to understand why we were here — how can we help, are we creating a positive impact, is this just an elaborate inflation of our higher education egos? And the most pressing question: is there a limit to how much sweat I can produce each day?
From the murky rubble of week one, several business ideas arose. We identified problems and gaps in the Anjali operations, and brainstormed the ways we could fill them. By way of collaborating with Anjali staff, we whittled those down to two main business proposals. Our group has become two streams (as was always intended), developing viable proposals for social businesses. My group is working on ‘The Humble Abode’, a volunteer-only accommodation house that falls under the Anjali umbrella. This venture could generate another form of funding to cover some operational costs at Anjali house. More importantly, the space provides hospitality training opportunities for the older Anjali students in the school’s Young Adult Program. Biggest objective for this week: the welcome mat design.
The second group (helmed by the hulking, Oakley-equipped Lucien) is laying down the groundwork for a sewing training school within Anjali house. This will be a small group of Anjali mothers, whose children attend the school, who have not had access to skills training. The idea is to connect these mothers in a program that can empower them to make an income from within the home.
Project Everest has helped me better understand ethical tourism and the potential harm that some voluntourism can afflict. Our program is thankfully aware of its potential and has a clear goal. No back-patting. No high fives. No delusion. We’re here to work, and thus far I’m enjoying every moment (dicey gastro-scares excluded).”
And some photos to complement the article above;
Interviewing the Anajli House during the project research phase Exploring Kampot during the well deserved weekend break
Learning as much as possible about Anjali House Taking the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside at the weekends