CAMBODIA: Salesian students from Australia take part in immersion project in Cambodia
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Cagliero Immersion Project, which started in 2009, offers students from Australian Salesian houses an opportunity to experience life in another country and to learn about another culture. In July, a group of 12 young participants headed to Cambodia for the immersion at the Don Bosco Technical School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city.
The group had two days of community work alongside Khmer students from Don Bosco Technical School, during which they cleared canals and constructed new covers for the canals around the soccer field. Australian participants spent three nights in the houses of the teachers as an immersion experience to live in a Khmer family. Moreover, they learned about Cambodian culture, life and history.
Cambodia has a recent history marked by tragedy and genocide from which the country is only slowly emerging. A visit to the”Killing Fields” Genocide Center and the associated Prison Museum offered insight into the experience of most Cambodian families who lost members during the period of the Khmer Rouge’s rule from 1975 to 1978. Finally, the students had the opportunity to visit newer parts of Phnom Penh, which was a demonstration of the resilience, determination and courage of the current people as they rebuild their lives, city and country.
The Cagliero immersion team was also tasked by Father Charles Arun, delegate for Cambodia’s Youth Ministry, to organize a camp, It took place on July 7-9, for approximately 60 young students from the various Salesian Centers in Cambodia, including a group from the Salesian Sisters center. The camp highlighted five qualities necessary for a Salesian youth including joy, gratefulness, hope, love and friendship.
At the end of camp, the Cagliero immersion group, along with the Salesian youth attending the camp, entertained the students of Don Bosco Technical School. The entire day was filled with activities including dancing, arts and crafts, bead and bracelet making, indoor and outdoor games and role playing for all of the 500 students on a rotating basis. The day concluded with an exciting basketball game between the Australian immersion participants and Don Bosco Tech students.
“The Australian youth brought a lot of joy and inspiration to the Cambodian Salesian school, and in turn, they also returned home with a heart full of joyous memories of serving others and getting to know the beautiful cultures of Cambodia and its young people,” said one of the Salesian staff on the trip.
Cambodia has a long history of violence that has resulted in a quarter of Cambodians living in poverty and surviving on less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. About 80 percent of the country’s population resides in rural areas and has limited access to education, health care and other public services.
Today, close to a quarter of Cambodians over the age of 15 are illiterate. With very little access to education, poor youth find it especially challenging to break the cycle of poverty. To provide youth with greater opportunity, Salesian missionaries in the country operate 45 schools in poor, rural villages through a partnership between Salesian Missions and the Ministry of Education. Salesian missionaries also operate seven vocational training centers that impart much needed job skills.
World Bank – Cambodia