And the Award for the Most Inspiring Dad goes to…

Posted on March 6, 2009

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In February last year I got this email from my Dad:  

My BIG project is that I’m going to raise the money to build a school for 400 kids in Cambodia…I’ve got it all planned and costed and approved in Cambodia a…I’ve made a power point 50 photo presentation and big talk…with locals doing the work I can build a school for 400 kids plus teacher accommodation and a toilet block for…there are 400 kids at anyone time across 3 small villages that have never been taught and not one adult across the 3 villages who can read or write….better go, love from Dad….err, I’ve got to deliver but I feel realistically confident…..

 

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Over the year we’ve been getting lots of emails and photos.   Here’s a sample (or here’s a more formal write up on a Rotary website).

By May:  

 I’ve got about 60%of the money needed which is Ok cos the first wee while will be getting them and building materials and builders organised… I miss you all heaps…I’m now kinda stuck with this awesome project and it now has a life of its own.

In July: 

Re: School in Cambodia
Village of Chuor Ph’av (Joo Pow) in the Province of Prey Veng
The Rotary Club of Beaudesert is building a school for 400 children in an extremely poor district of Eastern Cambodia, where no one has attended school and the one hope for a future is a school. The villages around our school are a major source of boys into industrial slavery and young girls into sex slavery. I am the project contact both in Cambodia and here in our District…I could write a great many pages on the story so far and the reasons for our club’s commitment to a school but I’ll keep this email short.
       
I have been to the three villages in remote Eastern Cambodia many times and will continue to do so using my own teachers salary. I was there only two weeks ago. There are eight attached photos. Our partner club in Phnom Penh, the capital, is Phnom Penh Metro (they are looking after the project in Beaudesert’s absence). There  is a photo of Martin the president and 2 female members, taken a week ago..I am in a blue shirt. The Rotary Club of Phnom Penh Metro’s almost exclusive role is to decide on the merits of partnership in the various international aid projects heading their way in this particularly desperate country.
      
The school will serve three villages and there are 2 photos of village elders together with a policeman, doctor, builders and representatives of the Cambodian Government signing all the necessary paperwork for both us in Rotary and for the Cambodian Government. There is a photo of three young men in Rotary shirts. I found them working for a cataract project and I used them to translate for all the financial and legal talks. Almost none of the elders/leaders has attended a school, so planning a school is very new for them but also so incredibly welcome.They are of course VERY grateful. 

 

October: 

Briefly but not necessarily in this order…there’s a full view (its in monastery grounds and the official opening will be in January. There’s two guys with THE wheelbarrow (canvas between poles). The main roof beam is hand filled reinforced concrete. All cement and concrete is hand mixed and carried by wives and children. There’s a photo of me with the only compressing machine ( a heavy wet log). The classrooms are each 10 metres by 10 metres – there’s a photo inside the right hand end classroom.  

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November: 

The terracotta roof is going on the school as I write and the next thing to do after we finish the building is the tables and benches and a toilet block.  

 Teaching has started in the monastery building (Wat) which is 100 metres away from our school.
 A week ago we assembled our 400 (over 400) children in the Wat and I gave each child two exercise books and a pen. I’ve been talking with the three teachers..one is in his 5o,s and seems very kind and experienced and the other two are straight out of college and enthusiastic. They are on the payroll and will receive the standard $1 a day from the Cambodian government and a $1 supplement from The Rotary Club of Beaudesert so they are delighted. For the time being the teachers will sleep on the monastery floor. 

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January this year:

thanks and to those friends and family involved in big ways with our village in Cambodia. Its Thursday afternoon here Jan 8 and this morning I took the first 4 photos of the junior classes at the school. (senior classes are in the afternoon) 

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March this year:

I’ve got plans well under way and fund-raising  happening for a second school …  buy a brick for $100 and remain forever in the hearts of 700 of the worlds most desperate children.

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