ISHRA Reports on 2008

Comments OffFebruary 1, 2014by admin

ISHRA Reports on 2008

Saret told me that there were 61 children and youth in her care, the latest little fellow, maybe a 5 year old, had arrived the previous week. He had been placed there when his father was imprisoned for murdering his mother. It was clear that he was already comfortable and accepted by the other children as part of their little community. He grasped my hand in his small one in an obvious sign of trust, which was touching. Many of the other children also took hold of me and gaily sought to show me around, and willingly had their photos taken.

Dina had to leave so I was left in the care of Saret and the children. A couple of the older boys took over and took me on a tour of the orphange. Then accompanied by an entourage of younger children, I was shown the various facilities of the orphanage. There are number of simple cement rendered structures that were dormitories, only woven mats no mattresses on the wooden beds.

Adjacent to the boys dormitory is a small room that had been turned into a computer study room a bank of four computers were in use. After some animated discussion between themselves and Saret, it became obvious where they some of the ISHRA money I had indicated I had for the orphanage, would be spent. They asked if ISHRA could buy them another computer. There is a keen desire to learn computing skills among both girls and boys, and they are usually allotted so much time each can spend on the computer, so an extra computer would be very welcome. Part of their computer studies is using MS Word and Excel in the Khmer script. Panja, a 19 yo senior student, who was very familiar with the computers, offered to come to meet me at the hotel on Monday to take me to a computer shop.

I was also shown the library and recreation room, the main items being a hifi keyboard piano/organ, various games and a small library of books. Some of the children pulled out some board games and sat on floor and began to play games whilst others crowded around the key board.

There is a communal dining area covered by a verandah attached to the cookhouse and Saret asked me the next day whether ISHRA could assist them to extend the verandah as some protection against the monsoon rains. They worked out that it would cost around $450AUD to carry out this extension. I promised to put it to the ISHRA committee with my positive recommendation.

There is a large open walled, tiled area which serves a variety of purposes, a class room, an entertainment area and meeting place. After my tour, the children invited me to this place and sat me down and put on a display of Khmer traditional dancing and comedy. Two young boys did a comedy skit with one being a food vendor Рwith pole and food containers etc Рthe other objecting to him setting up on his pitch. They were quite funny, all done to traditional music. The second act was a folk dance dance routine led by Nary (12-13) vivacious girl, of short compact build, with the biggest smile around. A very confident and perky child who spoke quite good English. I suspect she may have been the initiator of this program. After the children had performed their graceful routine, Nary came and took me by the arm to join them in the traditional Khmer circular dance. After a minute or so I felt like a stranded whale among these small graceful children so I begged to be excused. One sweet young girl, Srey Moa, presented me with a 500 riel note in a paper fold out form flower that she had made for me.

On Monday I was met by Panja and off we went in a tuk-tuk to one of Phnom Penh’s suburbs to purchase the computer from a shop run by a Chinese family. Once our computer ($260 USD) was all assembled and tested, including soft ware, we boarded our tuk tuk and went to a furniture shop to purchase a suitable desk (USD $39) which was also crammed onto our tuk-tuk, finally with a stop at a music shop where I bought a classical Yamaha guitar, including a bag and spare strings (USD $48.50), we climbed into our trusty tuk tuk and traveled the 30 minutes or so to the orphanage where we were greeted with excitement.