When I visited Cambodia in 2010, I was lucky enough to visit the incredible people at New Hope Cambodia and learn about the amazing work they do every day, for so many.

New Hope Cambodia is a grass-roots, hands-on and non-government organisation. The focus of New Hope is ‘free education for all’ as the founders recognise the vital role education plays in helping break the cycle of poverty.

New Hope, Cambodia

New Hope is located in Siem Reap, Mondul 3. This is one of the poorest slums of Siem Reap. Once a military base, the village is now home to some 300 families. The people of Mondul 3 have no formal education, English language or vocational skills. On top of this, the living conditions are appalling, work opportunities limited and food scarce.

The charity make sure treatment is readily available for up to 100 residents every single day. People can come to New Hope to receive treatment for burns, wounds, infections and illnesses such as malnutrition, HIV, hepatitis, typhoid, tuberculosis and dengue fever. Not only that but each month, families in need receive food packages and New Hope also plays an active role in the fight against human and sex trafficking.

New Hope provides free education to an incredible 600 children and young adults. They offer invaluable help and programmes in sustainable farming projects, cooking and restaurant work.

New Hope, Cambodia

MY VISIT TO NEW HOPE CAMBODIA

 

I visited New Hope in 2010. The staff here are real heroes and heroines. They greet you with open arms and seemed genuinely moved that we had come to visit.

I was kindly offered the opportunity to sit in on an English class. I took my seat at the back of the classroom but not before a big Cambodian welcome…and in perfect English also. These kids are incredible! Their willingness to learn is something truly humbling to experience.

Trying my best not to distract, I got the chance to speak with a few of the kids in the class. Their english was better than mine at times which was rather concerning. In the short amount of time I spent with them, I could tell instantly just how many opportunities New Hope is offering them all. Opportunities they wouldn’t get outside of the charity and opportunities we at home so often take for granted.

After class we met some more kids out on the playing field before grabbing a table in the restaurant for an early supper. The chef at this time had left their paid job at a popular local restaurant and now volunteered their culinary skills at new Hope on a permanent basis. Just another example of the heroes who help run this incredible place.

The food was amazing! Traditional Cambodian cuisine with a few surprises thrown in there too. I can’t say I was particularly taken by the idea of snake but it wasn’t too bad and tasted similar to crispy chicken skin. Delicious!

New Hope Cambodia

I stayed at New Hope into the evening when the kids went home to their families and were replaced by the local regular faces dropping in for a drink.

Before leaving I saw a bowl where donations were welcomed. I gave the little I had but felt bad that I couldn’t offer more. Now, looking back on it, I think of something Karl Pilkington said in an episode of An Idiot Abroad, Season 2. He was helping to build a new hut in an African slum and after he had finished he looked around and said, I’ve just helped these guys build a new hut for someone, but its not enough. As I placed what dollars I could in the donations bowl, I was feeling this very way.

New Hope, Cambodia

ON RETURNING HOME

 

On returning home, I was due to set up business with my dad. It soon became clear to me that the opportunity to do more was here somewhere. We now have a little menswear business in a Buckinghamshire village and are very proud to have New Hope Cambodia as our charity of choice. We raise money as best we can but I’m greatly looking forward to the day I can go back and do more in person.

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New Hope, Cambodia