Courage and Compassion in Cambodia

In the September/October school holidays, a select group of staff, students and parents from Corpus Christi travelled to Cambodia to participate in a dynamic program of community service and cultural immersion.

 Over ten days, the group was embraced by smiling locals as they participated in activities such as school teaching, house building, Catholic worship, local traditions and sightseeing.

 A key highlight was visiting a participant of the Deaf Development Program (DDP), which is run by Caritas Australia partner, Maryknoll Cambodia. DDP assists deaf or hard of hearing people with their education and job training. DDP helped Rattanak, a deaf man, learn sign language, and he was keen to meet Australians who have supported the program through donating to Caritas’s Project Compassion. Now a trained barber with his own business, he happily met with the students and gave Corpus Christi teacher Simon Maye a haircut.

 Throughout the school year, the Corpus Christi community has been raising funds for a range of charities. One initiative was to buy jeans and reading glasses for school students in Cambodia. These items were distributed on the trip and received with gratitude. Corpus Christi also raised funds for ‘One Egg a Day’, an initiative of St John’s Church in Siem Reap designed to provide much-needed additional nutrition for the students and teachers at a local learning centre. The College was able to pledge funds to supply one egg a day for an entire year for forty students and their teachers.

 Corpus Christi teacher Rae Cook said of the trip, ‘We are humbled by the kindness of the people and the generosity that is often shown despite, at times, extreme poverty. A family with seemingly nothing will engage you in conversation, offer to share their food with you or invite you to join in with celebrations. They possess heaps of humility and the meaning of the word respect are just some of the gifts that they give us when we are there.’

 The Cambodia Immersion is an opportunity offered biennially. Students interested in the next trip will be able to express their interest early in 2020.

The immersion team would like to thank the generosity of the staff, students and parents who have participated in fundraising and have either brought jeans or glasses to school which we distributed.

The Immersion would not have been possible without the wonderful staff, students and parents who attended. A big thank you to Lorraine Carpenter, Cheryl- Lynn Mothiram, Kristen Nairn and Simon Maye. Another huge thank you must go to Wendy Quint who coordinated all the logistics between the students and parents who attended and completed the dreaded excursion forms.

Rae Cook