Issue 20
Monday, 07 November 2016
Charles Darwin University
Excitement as books and other resources arrive at a school in Cambodia
Excitement as books and other resources arrive at a school in Cambodia

Students boost spirits in overseas school

By Patrick Nelson

Three Charles Darwin University undergraduates have left an indelible mark in the hearts of a tiny school community in Cambodia, while on a pre-service placement recently.

South Australian-based students Marnie Smith, Mikala Gerloff and Megan Hallam raised more than $1000 for an under-resourced primary school run by volunteers in Siem Reap.

The funds, raised by a crowd sourcing appeal through television’s “South Aussie with Cosi” travel show, were used to buy books, puzzles, balls, food, and a toothbrush for every student at the school.

Lecturer in Teaching and Learning Dr Ania Lian, who accompanied the students to Cambodia, said their actions underscored what being a teacher was really about.

“They visited the school on their day off to deliver the supplies in what was a touching act that will make a world of difference to those children. 

“You can just imagine their excitement at receiving the donation.”

Dr Lian said the primary school lacked infrastructure and support, and operated in circumstances that were in stark contrast to schools in Australia.

“It is run by two teachers who don’t work for a wage, and who have other jobs and study commitments,” she said.

Dr Lian said the Bachelor of Teaching students were part of a group of eight initial teacher education students who were in Cambodia on a 10-day professional learning experience associated with their studies.

The students were supported by CDU’s School of Education, which encourages Australian teacher placements in the Indo-Pacific.