Friday, January 30, 2015

Bicycling 2000km for Cambodians

We hope you know how grateful we are for your help in improving the quality of children's lives and for helping their families achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency.

We put all our funds into Cambodian projects, and spend nothing on marketing. So it's always a challenge to have enough funding for all the wells, school buildings and teachers that are needed. Which leaves us thinking, "What can we do about this?"

Well, one of our volunteers came up with a solution! Martin Benda rode 2,000 kilometers to support education for the children in rural Cambodia! Read below to discover more...

Our Volunteer Cycled 2000km to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cambodian Students!

From our volunteer Martin Benda: 

I hope you all recall the newsletter from November 2014 where I elaborated on my intention to cycle from Singapore to Bangkok, 2000km, to raise awareness and funds to help Future Stars (children) in Cambodia gain access to education and clean water. If you don't, please take a look here, since this newsletter builds on that.

My first connection with Sustainable Cambodia was established in March 2014 when I joined Victor Siow (a former onsite volunteer who is now a member of the board of directors) for a short volunteering trip to Pursat (a province located approximately 250km north of the capital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia). During this trip I visited many rural areas where I witnessed how Sustainable Cambodia helped local families put their children through school, build water catchment systems, and start up economic development.

This visit made a profound impact on me. From that moment onwards I began to ponder how I could join forces with Sustainable Cambodia to raise awareness and funds to help tackle these challenges families in rural Cambodia are facing.

What followed was a couple of brain-storming conversations with friends and the idea emerged - cycling from Singapore to Pursat. Later on I had to change the route slightly, and the 'Singapore to Bangkok' challenge was born. We created a Facebook group "Martin is Cycling 2000km for Future Stars of Cambodia" which has gotten 2,348 "likes" to date. Also, a donation PAGE was created where USD 6,330 has been raised to date. To all who joined this great cause to support Sustainable Cambodia, emotionally or in the form of a donation, a big thank you!

Well, let me take you through the main highlights of my cycling trip:

About The Journey

I had 2000km to cover in high humidity, high temperatures, and very heavy traffic. Essentially, before I set off from Singapore on November 22nd at around 4:30am, I had not made any hotel arrangements nor had I planned the journey in detail. The only objective I had was to reach Bangkok by December 5th to catch my flight back to Singapore. All I had prior to the very moment I set off was the map above. Anything and everything in between of November 22nd and December 5th was left to unfold on its own. Some might have said "pure madness!" I said to myself, "This is just going to be awesome." And it truly was!

Singapore > Malaysia

Literally, my first moment I actually threw a leg over the bike. Untested with 0km on the bike (since the bike was brand new), I pushed the pedals in the basement of my apartment in Singapore, with 2000kms ahead of me. Before I reached the border with Malaysia (around 40km away from my apartment in Singapore), millions of different emotions rushed within me. My brain suddenly started questioning the reliability of the bike, the likelihood of tackling all the challenges successfully, and the probability of actually making it all the way to Bangkok. My heart, on the other hand, exclaimed "Shut up and enjoy the ride." Well, I truly did!

I managed to whiz through Malaysia in just four days and on the 4th day, November 26th, in early morning, I crossed the border with Thailand. Malaysia was more challenging than I anticipated. The terrain was very hilly, starting from north of Kuala Lumpur, with long distances with neither eateries nor small road stalls to buy water. During three out of four days I cycled through what seemed to be short and heavy tropical thunderstorms occurring in a regular cycle every three hours or so. My body got confused a little, after getting wet, then dry, then beginning to sweat again, then drenched in heavy rain again with almost no visibility, and the cycle repeating a couple of times a day. I was determined to cover the daily kms I had planned, and I didn't have the luxury to wait for the thunderstorms to stop. So I just kept pedaling.

Despite challenging conditions, the bright spot was the hospitality of the Malaysian people. Wherever I appeared with my bicycle, people approached curiously asking about the cause. In many cases I was invited to have a meal with them and other passers-by, a truly memorable experience.

Entering Thailand

I very vividly remember the moment I entered the land of smiles, Thailand. Unfortunately, there was no big smile on my face. My butt was in so much pain after nearly a thousand kms that I could barely sit on the saddle! Just the mere thought of cycling one more km was killing me... Well, I had to get creative. I popped by a local car repair garage, purchased an arm resting cushion which I taped to the saddle. The result wasn't pretty, but I could carry on cycling through the land of smiles with a big smile on my face, too... Perfect!

I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that all the way from the border with Malaysia I had a shoulder lane to cycle in. I felt safe and nothing could really stop me. The food stalls along the road were ubiquitous, and I started having my regular daily dose of coconuts. I can tell you that there is nothing more refreshing than having a fresh coconut when cycling in the direct afternoon sun in air that is as humid as the sauna. In fact, I drank around 10L of liquid a day!

Day in day out, I was covering around 200kms+ a day which put me ahead of my schedule by a day and a half. I wanted to use this time wisely and was contemplating to either reach Bangkok sooner or to take a break somewhere on the beach. Well, one should not be surprised that I decided to go for the latter! I found an amazingly beautiful stretch of a coast called Hua Hin, approximately 210km away from Bangkok. I spent two days in Hua Hin, indulging myself in some great seafood while recovering my numb butt and legs. Despite almost depleting my budget for the trip (the seafood was to blame), I was ready to hit the last leg of the trip to Bangkok.

Reaching Bangkok 

Fully rested after my break at Hua Hin, I was fired up to cover the last leg of 210km in record time and reach Bangkok in late afternoon. I set off very early in the morning and started pushing the pedals harder than ever before. I was able to maintain 40km/h on straight road, however, due to heavy traffic I paced myself at around 30km/h on average.

The moment I was nearing Bangkok I was constantly looking for a Bangkok sign to take a selfie and post it on Facebook, to let everyone know I made it. Well, there was no sign! However, something was telling me that the heavily urbanised areas were the outskirts of Bangkok, and that was confirmed by my mobile GPS.

Cutting through heavy traffic and millions of scooters all around, an hour or so later I reached my hotel in Bangkok. Extremely excited about my achievement, I wanted to let the world know that I made it! I took a selfie in front of my hotel at Sukhumvit that had a proper Bangkok sign, and the photo went straight up to Facebook! It is extremely difficult to put it in words how I felt when I reached Bangkok. I felt on top of the world, I felt invincible, and I felt that there is nothing I could not accomplish in this world.

What is next?

I am absolutely determined to find more ways to raise even more awareness and more funds to make an impact in the lives of the children - the "Future Stars" - in rural Cambodia. Despite being rather quiet about my next challenge, you can bet it will be a significant step up in terms of difficulty and funds to be raised. This cycling trip was just the beginning! Stay tuned, you will hear more news by end of 2015!

Final Thought

I truly hope that this adventure will raise awareness and be something of an eye-opener, as it was for me! The key takeaway from this trip for me is that we can accomplish truly amazing achievements when we set our mind to a specific goal. It is very important to join forces and channel our determination to where it can make a real impact, an impact from which those less fortunate can benefit.

In our November 2014 newsletter I said that perhaps helping the Future Stars of Cambodia can lead to identifying a lot of otherwise hidden talent. I am aware that the basics have to be fixed first, but I like to shoot for the stars and expect nothing less. Therefore I hope that my cycling trip laid out the foundation to find the future Albert Einstein, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Angelina Jolie and so on among the future stars of Cambodia. Let's find out, step by step!

In conclusion, I would like to express a big thank you to all those who made a donation on this PAGE and to AIMIA, my employer who sponsored me with cycling gear and some additional annual leave.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Celebrating all these Connections!

In this Special December Newsletter, we are
Celebrating the Joy of Connections!

Connections between... inspired 6th grade Florida students who raised funds for a well in Cambodia, and their colorful "messages of hope" for the rural children who now drink from that flourishing well in rural Angkrong Village!

Connections between... international Rotarians, supporters, and volunteers and the families they empower through latrines, biosand filters,  rooftop rainwater harvest tanks and biogas energy.

Connections between... sponsors and students through their encouraging stories, letters, drawings, and photos.

Connections between... donors like the Ferrero Family and Pearson Foundation/We Give Books and our students who discover the wonder of learning through a mountain of science books and exciting ipads!

Connections between... new scholars and their dreams.  In 2014 the Cambodian Minister of Education increased the degree of difficulty in the 12th grade state exam for thousands of high school students across Cambodia who hoped to pass the exam and advance to university studies. As a result, only 35% of the country's students passed the extremely challenging exam. 

One of our outstanding students who passed the exam is Yun Domminelle! She is pictured by her home with her grandmother and mother. 

"My family and I are very excited with the results of my exams. This year, a lot of students have failed the exams because the government has reformed its education system and strengthened the quality of the exams this year. However, I and some other SC students are lucky enough to pass this year's exams and continue to study at the university. Thank you everyone for providing a good education to us and other students for free."

This year 23 new scholars will join 94 currently enrolled university students who are advancing to their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years. They are full of hope and dreams for the future! 

In the photo above, Domminelle, standing 3rd from the left, gathers with a group of university students after their meeting in Pursat. 

Connections between... You and this wonderful world of hope and helping... 

We hope you will visit our website or contact us to learn more about becoming a scholarship sponsor for Domminelle or for our other wonderful students! Or visit the website to help in any of a number of ways. 

From everyone at Sustainable Cambodia,
may this New Year bring the Blessings of Joy and Peace.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Volunteer Cycles 2000km to Enable Future Stars of Cambodia!

We hope you know how grateful we are for your help in improving the quality of children's lives, and helping their families achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency.

You hopefully know that we have only native Cambodians as paid staff, and everyone else works as unpaid volunteers. We spend nothing on marketing, so all contributed funding goes to the Cambodian projects. But there's never enough funding for all the wells, cisterns, seeds, school buildings and teachers that are needed. So we are always thinking, "What can we do about this?"

Well, one of our volunteers didn't just "think about it"... He came up with a solution! Martin Benda is riding 2,000 kilometers to support education for the children in rural Cambodia! Read below to discover more...

Our Volunteer Cycles 2000km
to Enable Future Stars of Cambodia!

The following is what Martin Benda says about the campaign:

It all began in March 2014 when Victor Siow (a member of the board of directors of Sustainable Cambodia) asked me to join him for a short volunteering trip to Pursat, a large province located approximately 250km north of the capital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This trip was about learning how Sustainable Cambodia ( helps local communities address some of the most fundamental challenges such as access to education and clean water. I was lucky enough to experience first-hand the progress made on this front to date and also to witness how much more yet needs to be done to raise awareness and funds.

Victor (left), Martin (right), at Sustainable Cambodia Site, Pursat, Cambodia, May 2014

Before this trip, I knew very little about Sustainable Cambodia, its efforts and the educational and self-sufficiency challenges faced in remote areas in Cambodia. However, this trip allowed me to gain a truly meaningful and eye-opening experience in many aspects.

The most striking was to find out how little things, often taken for granted in developed countries, can make a huge difference in the lives of the future stars of Cambodia, its children. Be it a pen, a book, an appealing story or simple shelter, these seemingly trivial things can help these future stars gain access to "the most powerful weapon, which can be used to change the world", education.

In Cambodia, between 2008 and 2012 pre-primary school participation was only 13.3% and this percentage is as low as 1.5% in remote areas. Furthermore, just 1.6% of Cambodia's GDP is spent on education, which ranks around 170th in the world. In remote areas in Cambodia poor families struggle with daily cost of living, which makes them make their children work in the field from an early age. This field work takes place at the expense of school attendance, a concept not understood.

As powerful as these statistics are, with my motto "Enabling Future Stars of Cambodia" I decided to turn things around and further enhance the existing efforts Sustainable Cambodia are making. With this goal in mind, I decided to cycle from Singapore to Bangkok to raise awareness and funds for the future stars of Cambodia. Read on, I will take you through my experience and will tell you how you can play a part in this little yet symbolically important journey.

How it All Started:
My Volunteering Experience in Cambodia 

I truly believe that every single human being should do a volunteering stay at least once in a lifetime. To this date, I have done two, one 4-month stay in an orphanage in Indonesia and one one-week visit to Cambodia. The second one I consider as the beginning of a life-long journey to make an impact in places such as Cambodia.

Let me take you through what I believe has made a profound impact on me during this trip. You will then be able to gain a better understanding what has led me to the decision to cycle 2000km for this great cause.

Right after arrival, together with the staff of Sustainable Cambodia Victor and I were busy doing workshops and making field visits. Over just one week we visited a number of schools built from scratch, we saw many new enhancements made such as libraries and we met with many students who were able to go to university thanks to "Sponsor Me" donations. All these successes were made possible thanks to the donations from people who care, you!

Victor, Martin and SC staffs at one of our village preschools

One such a school built from scratch is in the picture on the left. It was newly built in a very remote area in Pursat with no asphalt roads, no regular supply of clean water and no means to provide elementary education. This school is now a self-sufficient shed with build-in facilities to convert rainy water into drinking water. It can also accommodate the need to provide basic education to all the children in the picture. This project was a game changer in the location and Sustainable Cambodia are going to build many more such schools in this remote area.

Martin (left) and Victor (right) at the bookstore in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A good example how to quench the thirst for knowledge of these children is to provide them with books and various reading materials. In the picture on the right, Victor and I took a bookstore in Phnom Penh by storm and bought books and magazines worth of USD300. The following day we donated these books to a library in Pursat. The reaction I witnessed thereafter left me speechless.

Children enjoy reading their books in the library

All the pupils came running in an effort to grab a book. After they managed to grab one, they kept reading and reading out loud to each other. This was one of the most moving moments for me. After observing the library in more detail, I noticed that most of the reading materials were indeed years old, dirty and used probably a trillion times. This small investment will keep these children's hunger for knowledge satisfied, not for long though.

Details About The Journey 

As treacherous and challenging as the journey seems, to overcome the different terrains, altitudes and notorious traffic, I am counting on the understanding of the drivers in Singapore, the hospitality of the Malaysian people, the wide smiles of the people in Thailand and a positive attitude of all the other people I will make contact with along the way.

To put this journey into perspective, my goal is to cycle around 200km per day, which should total to approximately 10 days to complete the whole journey, from Singapore to Bangkok. All in all, 2000km. Three additional days are planned for emergency situations such as heavy rain, traffic difficulties, by-pass around big cities and some necessary rest on some nice beaches along the coast.

How I am Going to Raise Awareness 

I believe everyone around me will be as excited about this journey and the impact we all can make as I am. To raise awareness through the countries I will cycle through, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, I will be wearing gear with the logo of AIMIA (, the main project sponsor and a significant donor, and Sustainable Cambodia.

To let you all experience the thrill, a Facebook page: "2000km Journey for Future Stars of Cambodia" (click here to access the website) has been created, please do like it and spread the word of this good cause.

On this page, you will be able to witness all the pre-journey preparations that are currently getting under way as we speak. Once I set off, currently planned for the last week of November 2014, you can see my regular check-ins and other posts and photos taken on a daily basis.

Besides the cycling, a couple of joined promotions at bars and restaurants in Singapore are planned at the moment. Stay updated and do check out my Facebook page regularly.

How to Make Donations 

To make it as easy as possible for people to make a donation, Sustainable Cambodia set up a fundraising page on Crowdrise (click here to access the website) to provide everyone with the opportunity to make a fair contribution and enable the future stars of Cambodia gain access to education. To show my commitment and get others motivated, I have already made a donation of USD500, beat that!

As I mentioned earlier on, every little help makes a huge, tangible difference. The below table should give you a fair idea on how much impact you can make by donations as low as USD100, which is an amount often wasted on the things we barely need in life. However, such an amount can help change lives, literally!

It is the responsibility of those fortunate enough in life to be able to meaningfully contribute to the development of those less fortunate. Little gestures of appreciation such as the donations made through this cycling trip can be translated to improving the educational standards in rural areas such those Victor and I visited.

Who knows, maybe, just maybe, the future Albert Einstein, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Angelina Jolie can emerge from these future stars who, thanks to our help, will be able to access the world of education and achieve extraordinary things they could not otherwise. Let's find out by enabling these future stars!

If you would like to create a fundraiser page, email us at, and we'll help you create an fundraiser that will really change lives! Or you can help Martin reach his goal by visiting and contributing to her campaign.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jorie's 18th Birthday Gift Changes Lives!

This is a note of gratitude to all of you who are improving the quality of children's lives, and helping their families achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency.

We strive to be efficient with funding. We have only native Cambodians for paid staff, and everyone else works as unpaid volunteers. We spend nothing on marketing. All contributed funding goes to the Cambodian projects. But funding the well-drilling, pumps, cisterns, seeds, school buildings, school books, etc. is always a challenge. So we are always thinking, "What can we do about this?"

Well, one of our supporters didn't just "think about it," she came up with a solution! And she took action! Read below about how JORIE MORAN used her 18th birthday celebration to help dozens of children and their families...

Jorie's 18th Birthday Gift Changes Lives!

Jorie Moran recently returned from her work overseas in Vietnam and Cambodia. While in Cambodia, she was moved by the history of this nation and the dire conditions of the villagers who love in the rural communities.

In the lieu of gifts for her upcoming birthday, Jorie created a fundraising page on the website to raise funds for Sustainable Cambodia. She set a goal of $2,000 to help change the lives of Cambodian children and villagers.

Jorie's friends and family have been contributing birthday gifts to the project, some small, others big.

The results of her birthday gift will last for years. Children will have opportunities they might never otherwise have. Families will be empowered, and as part of the pass-on program the families will "give back" to other families in nearby villages. Jorie's birthday gift, from all her loving friends and family, will be at work in Cambodia for years to come.

Jorie, her friends, and the children in Cambodia

In Jorie's own words, after returning from her volunteer work across Cambodia: "This summer I had the opportunity to work overseas in Vietnam and Cambodia. While in Cambodia, we visited the Killing Fields and learned about the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge wanted to erase Cambodia's history completely and therefore created the term "Year Zero." They invaded the city Phnom Penh, and in a matter of three days it was completely empty. Since then, Cambodians have suffered tremendously in trying to rebuild their country. Lack of clean water, education, resources, and economic opportunities have been constant troubles for Cambodians. I had the privilege of working with the Sao Sary Foundation and made and installed water filters for villages with basically nothing. Sustainable Cambodia is a similar group determined to change the future of Cambodia. Please support me in making a donation to those in much more need than myself.  PS-You should Google the Killing Fields!!"

If you would like to create a fundraiser page, email us at, and we'll help you create an fundraiser that will really change lives! Or you can help Jorie reach her goal by visiting and contributing to her campaign.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Community Ponds Change Lives

Cambodia is a country of stark contrasts. In the rainy season water is abundant, so rural families can farm, grow vegetables, produce an income, and send their children to school.

Prey O'mal, our new target village
In the dry season, everything is different; the shallow ponds quickly dry up, and water becomes very difficult to reach. Not only is drinking water scarce, but farming is difficult, and as vegetables disappear so does the ability to earn an income for the family. For many families, this leads to one of the parents leaving for temporary jobs in large towns or even in Thailand. The children at home have to do more housework and chores, and the biggest of those chores is spending several hours each day travelling to collect water. As a result, children often can't go to school regularly. When they miss school, they get low grades and eventually drop out, and the cycle of poverty is recreated….

Your support helps families break the cycle of poverty.

We are grateful for all our supporters around the world, including you, Youthlinc, Starquest Expeditions, and the many Rotarians who are working through Sustainable Cambodia and Sustainable Cambodia Australia to help village families and children. With everyone's help, nearly 400 wells are providing safe water, more than 4,500 students are currently enrolled in our schools, and nearly 25,000 Cambodians have been able to change their lives for the better. None of this would be happening without supporters like you!

Rural families can grow vegetables all year round with the water from our community pond program
In this month's newsletter, we are sharing how our community ponds program has changed the life of many rural families and their children. Please read below to discover more.

Community Ponds Change Lives

Our Community Pond Program provides community members with an affordable and sustainable way to improve their family's health and to help them produce food and generate income during the dry season.

One SC-supported community pond in Prey O'mal village
Community Ponds provide water for irrigating gardens and feeding livestock and can be stocked with fish to increase the village families' access to high protein food and generate income. This earned income provides families with the means to pay for supplies, healthcare services and food security, and even to create small business opportunities.

Not only are families engaged in co-creating a sustainable community asset, they are productive during the long dormant period between the rice harvest and the next rice planting. With locally earned income, families don't have to leave their homes for jobs in the distant areas, and their children can stay in school!

The families in Prey O'mal village, a new SC target area, have helped to dig four new community ponds, which are benefiting more than 40 families. In the following section you will meet one of those families, and see how their lives have changed!

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her family
Meet 34 year old Kong Sophear, one of the poorest farmers in rural Prey O'mal, our new target village. She currently lives with her husband and her 2 children.

Life was extremely challenging for them when they first moved to this village in 2004. Their home was very far from any water source, and the children often missed school when they had to spend hours fetching water for the family.

Her vegetable garden with the water from the SC-supported community pond 
Moreover, with no job opportunities during the dry season, the family was unable to create a sustainable source of income no matter how hard they worked.

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her husband in their vegetable garden next to the SC-supported community pond
Everything changed when Kong Sophear and her husband joined Sustainable Cambodia's projects. Sophear joined one of SC's Self-Help Groups in late 2013 and has worked with the group for nearly a year now.
Sophear and her husband harvesting their vegetables to sell at the market
The family has clean water from a bio-sand water filter, has benefited from an SC-supported community well and community pond, has been trained in agriculture and business concepts. Mrs. Kong received vegetable seeds, along with agricultural tools and training, and received a micro-loan for the family to open a village business. 

And their lives have changed... The harvest from Mrs. Kong's family farming has given the family much-needed income.

Mrs. Kong and her husband working in their vegetable garden
Her husband works in the vegetable garden with her, and also runs his small business, providing commodities for the community. Their lives are no longer dominated by long walks to get water, and their children are now able to go to school regularly. 

When we interviewed Kong Sophear, she said: "We are very honored and grateful to have Sustainable Cambodia come to help our community. After the pond was completed, we were able to grow enough food to eat, and earn enough money to support our family, and allow our children to go to school everyday.”

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her husband next to the pond
She continued: "I now love my husband more than before because he now works so hard all day, he grows vegetables with me, we raise chickens and animals, he sells products in the village and helps me with housework. Thank you SC and all supporters for helping our family and our community with the water, well, and bio-sand filter for safe drinking water, loan for business, pond for growing vegetables, and a lot more. We wish you good health, good luck and good lives for your family, too."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thanks to the Youthlinc Teams: They made everyone smile!

This past month, Youthlinc again sent students and mentors to visit our Cambodia projects. Youthlinc is nonprofit organization dedicated to creating lifetime humanitarians by offering students and mentors local and international service experiences. Rotary clubs and Rotarians are engaged in helping Youthlinc with this program. This year we had two groups of students - 80 students per group, plus mentors - who came to help with some major projects.

We are grateful for all our supporters around the world, including you, and Youthlinc, and the many Rotarians who are working through Sustainable Cambodia and Sustainable Cambodia Australia to help village families and children. With everyone's help, nearly 400 wells are providing safe water, more than 4,500 students are currently enrolled in our schools, and nearly 25,000 Cambodians have been able to change their lives for the better. None of this would be happening without supporters like you!

First Youthlinc Team at SC

1st Youthlinc team of 40 students and mentors and SC staff, a group photo next to the newly built school in Krang Popleak village

Each Youthlinc team spent around 10 days in Cambodia. The projects they focused on at Sustainable Cambodia ranged from clean water and agriculture, to health, education, and empowerment in the rural villages.

2nd Youthlinc team and SC staff Sin Soy

2nd Youthlinc team in the village

Each Youthlinc student and each mentor chose activities to participate in during their stay with us. These included building a rooftop rainwater harvesting tank (RRH), constructing and painting 2 preschools and the fence, teaching (English, sewing, business concepts, health care and more), fixing and making new school desks, and planting vegetables and fruit trees and more...

Providing sewing machines and the skills training Teaching and training

Teaching and training

Building the school concrete and the fence

School construction, planting seeds and painting the water tank

Painting windows at the schools

Providing animals and farming tools

Providing school bikes and uniforms

Books for the school libraries and more

Students standing in front of their new school built by the Youthlinc team in Chherteal Roung community

Youthlinc Teams Make Everyone Smile!

Youthlinc made a lasting difference in the lives of the families with the projects they completed. The children enjoyed learning. Village families found ways to improve their lives. The following are some comments from the Youthlinc team and the community people who have benefited from the Youthlinc projects.

Uncle Em Moul, 73 years old, the community leader of  Chheuteal Rung

Em Moul, the community leader, said in Khmer: "We want to express our deepest thanks for all your great support, friendship and love, encouragement and trust, and above all the great hope and prosperity you have brought to our community.   

"We are so impressed and grateful that you have traveled so far from your homes, spent so much valuable time and money, tireless commitment and strength to help our community.  

We want to tell you that your caring heart and support will stay with us forever. Since you came, we are more hopeful and more united than ever. We've learned to share what we have and to pass on what we know to one another. We know how to work as a team and as a community member. It's a REAL CHANGE to our community."

Aunt Morm Samoeurn with her first sewing class  and our SC staff Ork Siep
Morm Samoeurn said: "When we first got here, we had nothing and we were so hopeless, but we didn't have a choice. We didn't have clean water to drink and use, we didn't have a water well, we didn't have latrines, we didn't have schools for our children, we didn't have anything except the forest around us.   

But since Sustainable Cambodia came to our village, we have clean water wells, water bio-sand filters to make water safe for drinking, latrines, community ponds, pass-on animals, vegetable gardens, micro-loans for business and farming, and more. And now we have more support from the Youthlinc team, we have a school with some school bikes and uniforms for our young children, sewing machines and skills to make money, more animals to raise and pass on, education and knowledge and more.   

I have learned to make clothes with this machine with the Youthlinc students, and I have already made some and sold them. I am sure that I can make money with this skill, and I will pass on this skill to other families in my community. Thank you to the Youthlinc team and to everyone for helping my family and my community."

Our preschool teacher Nhem Sophea, 35 years old, one of the first families in Chheuteal Rung community

Nhem Sophea said: "We are so lucky that our children now have a school to learn. It's the first time for them to attend the preschool here. The Youthlinc team has changed the way we live, the way we grow our children and the way we think and work for our dreams of our own choice. We know we have to give our children a chance for education, and other good things will follow.   

Thank you to Youthlinc team and to everyone for helping our community, and we wish everyone great happiness and success in lives and business."

The following are some comments from the Youthlinc team:

Comments from Team Leader Stephanie:" On behalf of Youthlinc, I want to thank Sustainable Cambodia from the bottom of my heart. Sustainable Cambodia has been a fantastic partner for us, and has always worked diligently to ensure our teams have a positive and life changing service experience.   

Working together with SC, and our friends in the Chheuteal Rung Community was incredible. Together we were able to complete the school house, build a fence surrounding the school, install a garden, build desks for the school, teach sewing, English, and business skills and much more. We are forever grateful for the many friendships made, and treasure our new friends in Cambodia. We will always cherish our memories made in Cambodia, and hope to visit again soon.   

Many of us at Youthlinc are also involved in Rotary. Myself, Judy Zone, Miriam Barth and Dayna Revetti are all members of Millcreek Rotary Club, which has sponsored projects for SC. Recently, we sponsored a water well in Chumony, Cambodia and are happy to hear that the school now has access to clean drinking water year round! Dayna and myself were absolutely delighted to attend a Rotary meeting in Pursat, with Polin, while we were in Cambodia last week. We are happy to have new friends in Rotary, and look forward to working together again!   

Stephanie Chard,  
Youthlinc Team Leader "