In 2010-2011, the Disciples of Christ Week of Compassion funded Lending a Helping Hand – an initiative in Battambang, northwest Cambodia that was led by a Cambodian NGO, the Association for Development for Our Villagers’ Rights. There were many and varied accomplishments from the project, which supported basic health services, hand pump wells, community leader knowledge/skills development, a senior center and support for community education, including school infrastructure for rain water catchment systems and latrines as well as supplies for school children and community volunteer teachers.
On a recent visit with guests from the University Christian Church of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Vy Nguyen, Week of Compassion Executive Director and CWS Board member, it was most interesting to see that one village’s hand-pump well that is still a great asset for the community because it ensures water for the whole community year-round when all other water sources are dried up and waiting replenishment. In fact, people of two nearby villages walk several kilometers to use the pump in the dry season. It was especially gratifying to see the project-supported primary school building still in use, and to learn that there is now a high school quite nearby, which will allow many more children than before, when they had to travel many miles to go to secondary school, to continue education past Grade 6. This important development, one community leader said, can be credited a bit to Week of Compassion and CWS, because Lend a Helping Hand support for the primary school inspired a Cambodian NGO to partner with the community to build the secondary school too.
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