Excitement is brewing at the Volunteer Building Cambodia Community Centre. Preparations are underway for our official opening on Friday July 1 and students and staff members are getting into the spirit.

It’s been a long journey to get here but we are so excited about everything we’ve achieved.

The community centre opened its doors to students at the end of 2016 and we were overwhelmed by the interest from young people in the surrounding villages. The number of enrolments far exceeded our expectations.

The community centre is about 25 kilometres outside of Siem Reap, in a village where we have provided a lot of support with house builds.

Our primary focus at the moment is to teach English to students from the local area.

It’s important to us that we provide opportunities for families and young people in need. Providing English classes might not seem like a dramatic step forward for families living in poverty but it can make a huge difference to their futures – especially young people.

We feel an understanding of English will help them with job prospects when they are older. English is widely spoken in Siem Reap, which is driven by tourism and often a requirement for employers.

English is also the main internet language, so learning English will help these village students get a better grasp on technology and be able to research and communicate about any subject that interests them.

We have four teachers, including our head teacher Phirom, who is doing a fabulous job in the driving seat. Under her guidance our teachers and students are learning so much.

Eventually we hope to introduce Khmer language classes for the adults in the village who are illiterate. Illiteracy is disempowering and we are hoping to change that.

Our long-term goal is to provide vocational training to help upskill the villagers and create greater job opportunities for them.

So, this week we are celebrating all we have achieved with an official opening ceremony and a party. The students are busy practicing their song and dance and other entertainment for the guests.

It started as a dream and it has come to fruition.

Thank you so much to all the wonderful sponsors and volunteers who trusted in us and who supported the VBC Community Centre. Without you, we couldn’t have done it.

We hope to see you all on Friday July 1 for our official opening. Please get in touch if you would like to join us.