Giving Through Holiday for Hope
“Schools are a place to learn, and our children are here to learn compassion, kindness, teamwork, helping and caring for others. Please welcome and play with these new little friends among you!” – Spoken by Tjin at Steng Primary School
From 6-9th December, 6 families with 7 children traveled from the bustling and modern Singapore to the laid-back and enchanting Siem Reap, Cambodia for Holiday for Hope.
Holiday for Hope is a travel-for-good programme initiated by CRIB society and Operation Hope Foundation. It aims to open the hearts and minds of the next generation by inculcating the values of giving and compassion to the younger ones.
Trip Highlight: Steng Primary School
The highlight of the 4D3N trip was visiting Steng Primary School to distribute necessities received from our generous donors, which include clothes, slippers, and stationery packs. During the trip, the families also carried out an eye test for the children in school! Most of the children have good eyesight but a handful have vision problems such as Myopia and Amblyopia (We will be raising funds to sponsor these children with spectacles so stay tuned to our social media page!) The night before the school visit, all the families were briefed by Dr.Claudine Pang on testing the children’s eyesight and identifying children suffering from common vision problems.
Donations received from the families were used to support Steng Primary School to repair broken roofs, toilets, and windows. We also provided a water filtration system for each classroom and constructed fences around the school compound. A playground which was generously donated by Little House of Dreams saw many primary school students and village kids having a whale of a time playing on the see-saw and swings.
A part of our donation was used to prepare a delicious and filling lunch for the children. We learned that the village children love eating curry chicken with bread, so we gathered some of the children’s mothers to prepare this hearty dish for all children. We made sure the food was prepared in abundance, so the children could bring some curry chicken home to share with their family members. Many children had a second or even a third serving!
DAY 1 & DAY 2 Tours:
Before the school visit on the third day of our trip, we organised a cultural immersion tour for our families in Siem Reap. Families trundle in a breezy tuk-tuk to visit the local Made in Cambodia market and along Pub street. The main philosophy of the local market is to help create Khmer jobs; from villagers producing the handicrafts to the sellers interacting with the visitors. Everything sold in the market is made in Cambodia, which is a stark contrast to other markets in Cambodia, where the majority of wares are made in China, Vietnam or Thailand.
Families were whisked back to the olden days as they explored the mesmerizing Bayon Temple, built in the late 12th century C.E. Our tour guide shared about the vivid history of ancient cravings in Bayon temple. The basic structure of Bayon Temple comprises of 3 simple levels, making it perfect for parents to bring their young children along for an eye-opening experience.
After the temple visit in the morning, lunch was served at Spoons cafe. Spoons Cafe is a social enterprise cafe which doubles up as a training facility for EGBOK students to gain hands-on culinary experience for future work opportunities in F&B. Profits from Spoons cafe are channeled directly back to EGBOK, which achieves sustainability and also benefits future EGBOK student intake. The menu at spoons cafe looks tasty too, with a wide array of Cambodian and Western cuisine – all freshly prepared by the EGBOK students.
After a quick rest back at Shinta Mani Hotel, the families separated to continue the second part of their day of recreation. One of the groups visited The Happy Horse Ranch Farm to try horseback riding and took cart rides. While some of the kids were excited to climb atop the fit and well cared for horses, a few others were apprehensive. All of them were soon won over by the experience when they eventually put their trust in the guides and gentle animals. The one-hour countryside trail took them off the roads to ride past local villages.
Right after the horseback riding, they climbed onto a cart for another hour of ride on a different route. The children were so thrilled with the experience that they wanted to go for another round of rides!
Some families opted for the river cruise trip to visit the Tonle Sap fishing villages, where they admired the traditional stilt architecture. We took a flat-bottomed canoe paddled by a local villager through the mangroves before we motored out into the gigantic lake of Tonle Sap and watched the sunset while enjoying a sumptuous dinner overlooking the lake.
The trip gave us all a perspective on a different way of life. Beside discovering Siem Reap through the tourist sites, the families met their bigger objective, which is to do good for the local primary school students by improving their school environment for them to grow, play, and dream big.
We have received many positive thoughts from the families on this trip and queries about the upcoming Holiday for Hope If you are interested to make an impact in your next holiday destination, do stay tuned to our social media platforms for the next Holiday for Hope trip details!
Alternatively, reach out to us directly and we will place you in our contact list!
Shee Wen Xin