Sadly, our current Cambodian-based International Project Volunteer, Sian Gair finishes her year-long assignment with us today.
Sian has been well a respected member of our Cambodian team, and will be sadly missed.
Sian offered the following reflection on her experience working in Cambodia with SeeBeyondBorders over the past year:
My volunteering experience in Cambodia started last February (2014).
I never anticipated that the source of the highlights as well as the challenges during my year as a SeeBeyondBorders volunteer would come from the people I would meet along the way.
I met SeeBeyondBorders’ Country Manager, Boeb and his team in Battambang (where SeeBeyondBorders main office is based) and started on assisting with the roll out of the first ‘Getting to School’ Sports program.
I have plenty of experience in developing and delivering programs, especially ones that require a high level of community engagement, but definitely not with communities where I don’t speak the common language.
Luckily the SeeBeyondBorders Cambodian staff have a amazing grasp of English and high level community engagement skills, enabling me to find my feet and identify how I could best go about assisting them.
I focused my attention on developing new programs and looking at ways to engage people who live in the poorer communities but are diverse in their needs and capabilities.
The highlight of the year has been working with members of local communities in schools as part of our broader programs.
Initially this was quite challenging as the level of poverty in the community is quite confronting. The teachers, students and community members have been so welcoming and friendly that it has only been upon reflection that you remember that there was no communication through language but through shared experience, laughter and an occasional song.
During my twelve months I have worked with three project teams and two teacher groups. A number of these groups have been young professionals and watching people grow through their experiences and know they are in the world wanting to make a difference has also added to the joy of my time in Cambodia.
I have had an amazing year working with an extraordinary team who are working continually to improve the lives of the children in their country. The last challenge is now is saying goodbye.
Ed offered the following reflection on the outstanding contribution Sian has made to SeeBeyondBorders:
It has been a pleasure to have Sian work with us over the last twelve months and we will be sorry to see her go. She has surely contributed generously to the highlights and challenges we have set all of those who have come and worked with us always leading from the front. Known by many of the visitors as our Duracell Bunny for never running out of steam, her commitment to caring for the people of Cambodia is palpable. She sets a fine example to us all as to what working alongside one another can achieve. Thank you Sian – you will forever be a member of the SeeBeyondBorders family and we look forward to your next visit.