CAMBODIA: Students with the Salesian Cagliero Project in Australia have immersion experience at Don Bosco Technical Center in Phnom Penh
(MissionNewswire) Every year the Salesian Cagliero Project in Australia brings a group of young students to another country for an immersion experience. This year they traveled to Cambodia and spent their time at the Don Bosco Technical Center in Phnom Penh which provides technical education for poor youth in subjects including electrical, mechanical, welding, automotive, electronics, computer and information technology, printing, media communication, hospitality and tourism.
The Cagliero Project fosters cooperation and support among the different Salesian provinces with volunteers having also worked in East Timor, Thailand, Samoa and Zambia. The project gives volunteers an opportunity to contribute to local Don Bosco missions and serve the poorest and most disadvantaged children in their programs.
The immersion group started with a hands-on project to create cement to help with drainage around the football field. One student noted, “After coming from a very cold Australia, this work left us dirty and tired but with a great feeling of satisfaction. What was best about this project is that we participated with the local students and were able to start building relationships right from the outset of the immersion.”
The group had the opportunity to stay with a local Khmer family. They were also welcomed into the homes of local Don Bosco teachers and were able to experience day-to-day life in Cambodia.
After spending time learning about Cambodia’s brutal history, the group turned their attention to facilitating a three-day youth leadership program. Salesian youth travelled from around Cambodia to Phnom Penh to be part of this special program. The weekend event culminated in an activity day for the school that was run by the program participants.
“It was incredible to see all the young people empowered to take ownership of being a young Salesian leader and to see them put this into action. Although the day was exhausting, everyone was buzzing with excitement at the end of the day for all they had achieved,” said Lauren Hichaaba, director of the Cagliero Project.
The immersion group departed from Phnom Penh to spend their final days visiting the temples in Siem Reap. They also took the opportunity as a group to reflect, debrief and pray about all that they learned and experienced.
Hichaaba added, “We are so grateful for the very special relationship that we have with the Salesians in Cambodia. And now, we have yet another group of young people who have been captured by the Salesian spirit and by the wondrous Kingdom of Cambodia.”
According to the World Bank, poverty continues to fall in Cambodia. In 2017, the poverty rate was close to 14 percent compared to 47.8 percent in 2007. About 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external challenges.
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UNICEF – Cambodia