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Mekhala House August 2007 017

In this edition of your November news:


A message from our Chair.Cambodian Kids Can Chair Patrick

While, it’s hard to believe that we’re fast approaching the end of another year, for our three year-12 students, the school year ended back in August with their final exams. Thanks to your support, each of them are enrolling for further study at university, in accounting, agriculture and marketing.

Another ex-Mekhala House student has now completed her university degree in marketing and is gainfully employed in Phnom Penh. And the young lady who undertook vocational training in hospitality has also completed her studies and is working as a cook with the very institution she trained with.   

In July, I had the opportunity to visit Mekhala House and Mekhala Learning Centre with my two children, Brett and Kym. During the visit, we accompanied two of the year-10 Mekhala House girls who volunteer to teach English to disadvantaged community members. It was incredible to observe these young girls giving of their time for the benefit of others and confidently teaching English to much older students, including some local monks.

The Cambodian religious festival of Pchum Ben, a time when ancestors are remembered, occurred last month.  Our  Mekhala House students returned to their homelands for a week, giving them the opportunity to strengthen their community ties and serve as wonderful role models.

None of this would be possible without your support and I hope you share our sense of pride in the girls and all they continue to achieve.

We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate with you at our end of year dinner. Tickets available here.

With thanks for all that you do!

Patrick, on behalf of the Cambodian Kids Can board

P.s A gentle reminder to any of our members who have not yet renewed their membership to get in touch!

A word from our supporters: Meet Kym ArthurCambodian Kids Can yoga class

Earlier this year my brother and I were fortunate to join our Dad, the Chair of the Cambodian Kids Can board, Patrick Arthur on one of his trips to Prey Veng. I have assisted Cambodian Kids Can with fundraising activities for many years and met the girls on Skype, but had never visited Mekhala House. My five days there were incredible and I have special memories of the time I spent and friendships I formed.

As a children’s yoga teacher I was excited about doing some yoga and meditation with the girls but in addition to that I also taught some English language and sex education classes. I was immediately struck by the girls maturity, sense of fun and desire to learn. The yoga classes were particularly special.

Another highlight were the incredibly creative and fun games the girls played in the backyard. My brother and I really enjoyed learning new games and teaching the girls games our children play back in Australia. We were particularly impressed with their resourcefulness and ability to create a game from a bunch of leaves or anything else in the garden. Many hours were spent in the backyard running around and laughing. Actually one of my key takeaways from the trip was the laughter, joy forever present in Mekhala House.

On one rather warm day (actually every day was warm) we went to a soccer field and were delighted by the girls complete and utter love for the game. Teams were very quickly selected and I was impressed by the fancy footwork and once again laughter (not just at my lack of ability).

As I mentioned previously, I was really struck by the girls desire to learn. Whether it was sitting around during a meal, playing games outside and walking around the market, the girls took every opportunity to learn English and practise their skills. They particularly enjoyed learning about my family back in Australia and hearing stories of my life in Melbourne.

We also had the opportunity to meet a number of the girls who were studying at University after they had graduated. It was then we saw the very tangible long term benefits of Mekhala House. These girls were all dedicated to their chosen fields of study and had high aspirations for their future. The ongoing support they received from Mekhala House enabled them to spread their wings before they were ready to completely fly on their own.

The staff at Mekhala House have incredible relationships with the girls and have created a safe, nurturing home environment. Their dedication and commitment goes above and beyond anything I expected. They are truly special people.

A word on our programs

At Cambodian Kids Can, we are extremely proud of our programs for a number of key reasons:

Our girls engagement with their villages:

Our model revolves around providing young women with opportunities to not only change their future, but the future of their communities. We encourage all of our young women to remain connected to their home village so that they return as changemakers who help to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. For this reason, we ensure Cambodian culture and customs are respected within the home and that the girls return to their communities once a month where possible, and more frequently during holiday periods.

Our connection to the Cambodian community:

Cambodian Kids Can operates under the auspice of an NGO that is formally registered in Cambodia and has a formal memorandum of understanding with the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs. We have the support of a number of key local officials including the Provincial Governor of Prey Veng and the Vice Rector of three university campuses.  We also work to provide opportunities within the Cambodian community, employing Khmer nationals for all local roles.

Our skilled volunteer program:

Mekahla House is a nurturing environment and we like to protect the rights and privacy of the forty young women who call it home. The doors of Mekhala House are open to only a handful of skilled volunteers who run regular education and personal development programs for the girls. These volunteers are known to the Cambodian Kids Can board, have undergone a Working with Children’s check and never stay on the premises.

Our recent eventsCambodian Kids Can dinner

Over 130 friends of Cambodian Kids Can came together at Greenfields in August for the biggest event on our annual calendar. Guests enjoyed conversing with the girls in Cambodia over skype, hitting up the dance floor and devouring the delicious food at stunning venue, Greenfield.

Together, we raised over $17, 000 on the night. Thank you to all that attended, volunteered and donated. Extra special thanks to those who signed up as a regular giver on the evening. Our regular donors are the backbone of our program, enabling us to keep the doors open month after month. You can sign up at any time here.

Dates for your diary:

End of Year Celebration Dinner
Enjoy a delicious three course Cambodian Feast while supporting young women in Cambodia to gain access to education.

Friday November 24, 2017
6:30pm for a 7:00pm start
Bopha Devi
27 Rakaia Way
Docklands VIC 3008
Tickets available here 

Creating Space to Let Go
As the year draws to a close, join board member Jenna Davey-Burns for an opportunity to reflect on 2017, create space for the year ahead and hear from some phenomenal guest speakers.

Sunday December 3, 2017
1:00pm- 3:30pm
Yoke Yoga Studio
4 Union Street, South Melbourne
Tickets available here