Today I want to share with you a non-art project that is so close to my heart: A Cambodia Journey (a.k.a. YMCA Cambodia Project). The YMCA Cambodia Project is a service learning and cultural exchange for Cambodian Americans, led by Khmer speaking Cambodian staff from the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. I have been trying to reach everyone I know to share this cause and asking for support of this wonderful program that the YMCA of Greater Long Beach in partner with Khmerican, Inc. have worked so hard to maintain. Please spare a bit of your time to watch the video above. It is a documentary on the November 2011 trip and I’m sure it will be time well spent.
These children in Cambodia are excited about the YMCA Cambodia Project!
What is the purpose of this trip?
The whole purpose of the trip is to expose Cambodian Americans and anyone interested in Cambodia and give them the opportunity to be immersed in the Cambodian society as well as give back. Those on this journey will work and bond with disadvantaged youth and young adults by doing team building activities, socializing, playing with with them. Members will also teach these youth technology skills such as digital media arts (movie making, graphic design, social media, website design, etc) so that they can use these skill sets to make a living and become entrepreneurs in the current technological climate.
We will also be specifically supporting the Cambodian YMCA program the Street Children’s Project. These children live on the streets and slums of Phnom Penh, and they attend the YMCA Street Children’s School because they can’t afford to attend state schools. Furthermore they are guaranteed one meal a day there. So in addition to bonding with the children, providing them with clothing, food, and school supplies, we will contribute to a monetary donation to keep the school and program running.
Youth are focused during a digital media training session at the Cambodia YMCA.
Why is this important to me?
This trip is important to me for many reasons, but the main one is that I know the struggles of these children and their families. I know because my childhood was similar, and my family was able to transcend with the love and support of others who share the same passion as the people involved in this program. I am so humbled and blessed that I want to be on the other side and show love and serve others that need me.
A picture of my family from my childhood.
This trip is also very important to be because I will be completely immersed in Khmer culture. Although I am ethnically Khmer, I have never lived in Cambodia, so this is a huge opportunity for a full immersion experience while learning about the my history and culture. Armed with such an experience, I can truly work at being a respectful world citizen who aims to serve.
I represented Cambodia during a Lunar New Year celebration at my university in 2011.
What can you do to help?
You can help by contributing to my cause! I have created YouCaring.com/MakaraCambodia, a site where you can easily donate via PayPal or credit/debit cards.
You can also contribute to my cause by sharing my donation page and story with others who might be interested or even your whole network. The more people who know about this the better! So please hit that share button!
Time is quickly gaining and I need to raise $2000 by the end April in order to reserve my flights and make other necessary arrangements. So every little bit helps!
The joy in these children’s faces make the project so worth the effort.
How can you learn more about this project?
- My YouCaring Donation Page
- My Facebook Event for the Fundraiser
- YMCA Cambodia Project Website
- YMCA Cambodia Project YouTube (very moving videos)
- YMCA Cambodia Project Facebook Page
- Ron Ung (Logistics Director): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Me: email@example.com
**Images courtesy of YMCA Cambodia Project unless otherwise noted.