Yeodene’s Tracy and Mike Layton say helping to build a school in a remote Cambodian village has helped open their eyes.
Tracy and Mike last year raised $12,000 towards building a school in the developing country, but had an awakening when they travelled to the Yern Yas village, deep in the jungle of the Ratankiri province, to help finish the project in August.
They bussed nine hours from Phnom Penh and took a four-wheel-drive two hours through thick forest in 40-degree heat, to help finish the school and live in the village whose future it will change.
The village had nearly completed the works when they arrived, with the Laytons’ $12,000 part of the $40,000 needed to build a school through United World Schools – which puts every dollar towards materials, local builders, employing villagers for manual labour, and training local teachers.
Tracy and Mike said the schools would help reverse crippling poverty and inequality in the country, and would especially help women.
“They still have arranged marriages there so the girls don’t have any importance in the structure; girls just raise children, and cook and clean.
“We have spoken to a few women over there who have received an education and their lives are 180 degrees opposite to what they would have had otherwise – and when you hear that you go ‘We are doing something good here’,” Tracy said.
See tomorrow and Friday’s Colac Herald for more.