Making a World of Difference

Lindy Schneider Local Life, News


Making a World of Difference

We recently provided $10,000 in sponsorship funding to this project – here’s a letter fromclassroom cambodia Angela Goldman about how the funds will be used to help students from Upper Yarra Secondary College ‘make a difference’ in Cambodia.

The trip is called World of Difference and is arranged through Rotary Club for Upper Yarra Secondary College and we are leaving on 22 November 2014 and returning on 2nd December 2014.

Previous trips by other schools have changed the direction and focus of many young adults who are completing their secondary schooling and the World of Difference program has so far facilitated over $200,000 donations including building a school and providing water and sanitation to a community of 800 Cambodian people since November 2011.

Our group consists of 19 students aged between 14 and 19 years of age and 5 adults.  Bronwen Foley and Angela Goldman from Upper Yarra Secondary College, Dawn Downey –  Warburton Scouts Leader,  Will Stephens – Rotary Club tour guide and Cambodian Tour Guide, Rithy Lay.  Rithy is a qualified teacher and as a young child Rithy was made parentless during the Pol Pot Regime.  He lived in Pagodas and was cared for and educated by Buddhist monks.  He studied at the University of Phnom Penh and is deeply familiar with all aspects of Cambodia.

Everyone is excited about going and we were extremely fortunate that our Cambodian Tour Guide Rithy Lay was in Melbourne and able to come and visit us to talk about the trip and give us an idea of the obstacles that get in the way of Cambodian childrens’ education.  One example is the students have to walk 20 kms to school and when they get there they find the teacher is not there.  This is because a teachers wage is so poor they have to take other work when it arises.

We will be visiting orphanages, schools and several village communities in desperate need of water filtration, crops, livestock and bicycles.  At the schools, we will be undertaking volunteering and donating school resources and clothing.  We will talk, play, teach and play music to the children and just spend time with them.

The group is very keen to raise money for humanitarian needs, and there is a goal to raise enough money to build a library at the School for communities of Bosalia and Kroa Boa Villages in Cambodia.  The cost of this is $6,500.  There are also a number of practical items that we intend to provide like pens, paper, bag of rice, crop seeds, tooth brushes and toothpaste, construction of a water filter, bore style water pump and many other projects which cost between $2 and $270 to provide.

There will be time to explore Cambodia and we will visit the ancient temple of Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm made famous by the Hollywood blockbuster “Tomb Raiders”.  Also going to the most sacred mountain in Cambodia, Phnom Kulen and visiting local villages where we will learn about daily village life.

We will delve into the history of Cambodia when we visit the Landmine Museum and learn about the cold war, visit Genocide Museum or Torture detention during Khmer Rouge regime 1975 – 1979 and visit the Killing Fields and learn about its dark past.

The purpose of the trip is for students of the Yarra Valley to experience another part of the world and give them the opportunity to become global citizens by stepping out of their comfort zone.

It is giving them the opportunity to be a part of making A World of Difference to Cambodian children and then bringing back the experience to share with their peers and families and local community.  It will create real memories, by making a real impact that will stay with our students and staff forever by visiting and volunteering at disadvantaged groups in Cambodia.   All students will grow from an opportunity like this. Our care, teaching and volunteering will make a huge difference to these Cambodian children.  Our group will get the opportunity to experience another culture which will be so different to what we experience in the Upper Yarra Valley.  Seeing and experiencing village life in a third world country with no taps, toilets or electricity will be confronting to our students, many of whom would think being without internet access is the end of the world.

The students are really looking forward to fundraising and donating goods and exploring an overseas country.


Angela Goldman

Upper Yarra Secondary College – Integration Assistant