GoPhil recently conducted its annual site visit to partner program HUSK in Cambodia. HUSK is working within the communities in Treak & Kompheim villages located on the outskirts of Siem Reap, providing clean water, educational and vocational opportunities. GoPhil has had a successful on-going partnership with HUSK for five years– offering grants for clean water systems, a new classroom, library, teacher salaries, new home construction and support for the vocational sewing program.
On this year’s visit, despite heat, GoPhil staff Linda Dewolf had the pleasure of seeing most of HUSK’s programs in full swing. Linda was in the company of several GoPhil donors, some of whom have been supporting HUSK’S efforts. HUSK is now running 70 + classes, serving 411 children–up from last year’s 363 pupils. They provide free morning and afternoon classes, supplementing the half-day government school schedule. We were thrilled to see that the newly built GoPhil donor funded library is now fully stocked with books (a large portion in Khmer) and furniture.
Our group met with eight women from the vocational sewing program that makes and sells HUSK’s signature “Softies” stuffed animals. This training program offers women a solid income as well as skills training and development–a precious combination in what remains a very poor country lacking opportunity. The sewing program now has a manager, a trainer and a volunteer who was helping the women with new patterns. The team had just received an order for 4000 bags from Intrepid Travel– there was a definite buzz in the air to fill that order and it was clear that the team felt confident in their craft and product development. Material had been ordered for the 200 school uniforms from the Change for Change program through GoPhilanthropic – they will begin that work soon.
With the rapidly expanding sewing program, founders Anthony and Fiona’s hope is to build an office space at the Softies site, a project with an estimated $10,000 budget.
GoPhil was also able to visit the newly built home funded by GoPhil in addition to meeting the family (and village chief) who will benefit from the next GoPhil grant towards a house build. Work on this home will begin on March 1st, using all local materials and employment of local labor.
Lastly, GoPhil travelers had a fantastic time on HUSK’s well known “Day in the Life” tour– a wonderful example of responsible tourism at work. Guests spend time with local village families who benefit from sharing their daily life activities and culture with travelers to the region.