I’m honoured to be part of the first delegation from SeeBeyondBorders to travel to Ireland. I will leaving tomorrow with two Cambodian colleagues – Country Manager Pov and Operations Manager Reasmey, for an exciting two-week visit.
We are looking forward immensely to grasping the unique opportunities which exist in Ireland, and to meeting up with some of our friends and partners in Ireland.
We also look forward to linking up with Cambodian educational colleagues from the PEPY Empowering Youth NGO. PEPY of course has longstanding links in Dublin, and Donabate in particular.
Since October 2013, Donabate Portrane Educate Together National School, a multi-denominational primary school in Dublin, and PEPY have been working together in the CambodiaIreland partnership. This partnership works to enhance the teaching and learning of Learn Together throughout DPETNS and also to improve the quality of education in PEPY. The CambodiaIreland partnership has gone from strength to strength in the past 5 years, and the Donabate community has been the focal point for most Irish activities.
We look forward to visiting Donabate and participating in the annual CambodiaIreland Fun Run. Fingers crossed the weather stays dry.
Irish Aid Vietnam has been instrumental in support of the CambodiaIreland partnership, and we are proud to be associated with them. Support from Irish Aid has been invaluable to the work of SeeBeyondBorders, and we look forward to meeting representatives of Irish Aid over the course of the two weeks to discuss strengthening collaboration.
Teaching Training Colleges
Over the past eight months, SeeBeyondBorders has welcomed representatives from Dublin City University and Marino Institute of Education to our office in Siem Reap. While in Ireland, we look forward to visiting and presenting our work to Anne Looney from St Patrick’s Teacher Training College and Barbara O’Toole from Marino Institute of Education. We are excited about this reciprocal visit, and the chance to share our work and the opportunities and challenges which exist here in Cambodia.
By forging new links with third level institutions in Ireland, it is my hope and belief that we will further enhance development education in Ireland and Cambodia and in particular, the teaching and learning around the sustainable development goals.
In November last year, Reasmey and I had the absolute honour of meeting staff from Irish company Horseware in Phnom Penh. Horseware has a factory in Sihanoukville Cambodia. and we are absolutely honoured to receive financial support from this socially responsible company. Led by CEO Tom McGuinness, Horseware is a pioneering company that specializes in making life easier for horses and riders. As if this were not enough, Horseware is also committed to improving teaching standards in Cambodia. Tom is acutely aware of the power of a good teacher and how building capacity among teachers is the most powerful weapon you can use to create positive educational change. Tom’s faith in our NGO is humbling and we cannot wait to visit the Horseware operation in Dundalk, County Louth. Furthermore, upon our return to Cambodia, we look forward to visiting Gerry Rafferty who leads Horseware’s Cambodian operations to thank him for his invaluable assistance to date.
Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO)
We would like to sincerely thank the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation for supporting this two-week trip. INTO has shown genuine solidarity for teachers and educators working here in Cambodia, and their support should never be underestimated. We are also excited about future possibilities with the INTO.
This trip provides SeeBeyondBorders with a fantastic opportunity to enhance our programs and to create tangible connections in Ireland. I have no doubt whatsoever that Pov and Reasmey will learn a lot while in Ireland. Equally I have no doubt the Irish teachers, children and lecturers will benefit hugely from meeting both men and seeing real development education in action.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.
AUTHOR: Colm Byrne, Senior Advisor to the Leadership Team, SeeBeyondBorders
PHOTO: Reasmey, Pov and Colm counting down the days to Ireland