“I am thrilled and so excited that I’m able to volunteer and working alongside the families in the village. I never expect that we can be of help. This is my very first social service, but I’m sure it’s not my last,” said Seak Sithorn, 3rd year Marketing major student from Mekong University in Siem Reap.
Continuing throughout October and November, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia along with affiliated organizations joined together to celebrate and highlight the World Habitat Day in different projects areas. After the two events in Battambang and Phnom Penh in September and October, Habitat Cambodia once again assembled volunteers from different universities such as Build Bright University, Mekong University and Pannasastra University. Community members also joined the activity in Pouk District, Siem Reap Province.
Guided by Habitat for Humanity’s global theme for World Habitat Day 2012, “Many Homes, One Community,” this activity highlights the dynamic roles that safe, decent and affordable housing plays in community stabilization and development by demonstrating the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness within homes and communities they live in. “I had so much fun at the hygiene event with students from the local primary school and the community children. I had a chance to work together with my friends and other volunteers to teach the kids the significance of proper hygiene in their daily lives. I was shocked that the kids did not know how to wash their hands and clean their bodies properly at first, but I was happy and proud at the end of the program that we were able to teach the children properly and successfully,” shared Eang Linda the student representative from Pannasastra University. “I’m more than excited to see a lot of hopeful children and happy that they can finally understand proper hygiene and sanitation. I find that this is such a useful program that really helps lead children and their families to live healthy lives,” she continued.
The volunteer activity in Siem Reap which concludes the “Clean Homes, Healthy Community” program has recruited over 150 volunteers from different local universities in Siem Reap to assist more than 29 families and over 100 students and community children with the house cleaning, community clean-up and hygiene event.
To maximize the opportunity to serve and to raise awareness on proper sanitation to the local students and community members, Habitat Cambodia also celebrated the World Toilet Day through a one-minute big squat with all the participants and villagers. The Big Squat is a symbolic mass activity that helps raise global awareness on the struggle that 2.6 billion people around the world face every day without access to proper toilets. World Toilet Day also brings to the forefront the health, emotional and psychological consequences the poor endure as a result of inadequate sanitation.
Mr. Sor Sitheng, a professor and a leader of the students from Mekong University excitedly shared at the end of the program, “It is a very good program and I’m glad that my students had a chance to get involved in this event. I believe activities such as this will not stop within this community given the commitment we gained from all our students. Community service will surely spread to other places and the sense of volunteerism amongst more youth. This activity is not only teaching the community members, it is also a great way for our students to learn and to realize the real needs and the living condition of their own people. I’m looking forward to the new opportunities to serve our communities, and I’m ready to encourage hundreds more students to volunteer for the next one with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia.”