Silent, that’s always been a part of me. I was never a person who likes to speak. Ever since I was young, I was a shy-introverted kid who got a list of things that I wanted to, which included helping my country. Sometimes, I even feel like it safer and more comfortable not to speak up. However, the thoughts about things I wanted to do are always stuck in my mind.
After joining Rabies in Cambodia, Solar Pi and volunteering for Khmer Sight Foundation projects, I realized that I have to get out of my comfort zone in order to become a better change agent. By joining these projects, I had to overcome my introverted personality in order to become the best change agent I could be.
Rabies might not seem as a big deal in Cambodia. However, according to the research conducted by Pasteur Institute, had shown that there is actually greater death from rabies than malaria and dengue fever combined. The most common animals that contained the viruses in Cambodia are dogs and cats. Nevertheless, in order to spread the awareness of this aggressive disease, our team were working with Phnom Penh Animals Welfare Society (PPAWS), Pasteur Institute, and Animals Rescue Cambodia (ARC).
During mid-January and start of Feburary, our exploration was working with PPAWS and ARC to hold events in Mondulkiri and two pagodas nearby our school. For these events, we provided free injections and dissecting for the pets. Throughout the two-day-long event at Mondulkiri, we got over a hundred of animals injected and dissected. While the one-day-long event at the two pagodas got 179 dogs and cats injected. Besides giving free vaccines, we had prepared short presentations about rabies that included our knowledge and the awareness of rabies that we gathered throughout this 7-week long project to the villagers.
This is my second time being apart of the project called, “STEM Activities in Cambodian Secondary Schools Using Solar Powered Computer Labs.” If you entered a coffee shop, you’ll see people busy with their technology devices. If you visited international schools, you’ll see students focusing on their laptops. Yes! You can see technology devices everywhere. However, although Cambodia is now developing in technology field, not all Cambodians have access to it–those who live in the rural areas. Throughout this project, we are hoping to successfully installed two computer labs–one run by solar power, while one run by electricity.
Recently, we have installed the electric-powered computer lab in a school that located outskirt of Phnom Penh. Now, the lab has already been using by 245 students. Another lab will be finished installing in the near future. These computer labs curriculums included English literacy–which we are using Edemy program. The other two included FreeCAD that is a 3D design program, while Scratch is a basic coding program which is good for the beginners that are new to programming.
By installing these labs, we are hoping for more access to technology for Cambodia’s students. This project will introduce the students to new type of learning curriculums such as 3D design and coding that are not known by a majority of Cambodians. Nevertheless, it will give the students extra knowledge and experiences about computer, which is one of the big advantages for them to apply to university or college. Our team believes we can use technology to empower young Cambodians to their full potentials.
Earlier this school year, a few senior students and I had volunteered a day to help Khmer Sight Foundation (KSF). Basically, KSF is a program that is trying to help old-blind people who cannot afford to get their eyes’ surgery done. Free surgeries are provided by KSF and were held in one private hospital in Phnom Penh.
Throughout the whole day of checking up with the patients, we got a chance to bring some of the serious patients to Phnom Penh and got their eyes surgeries. Rather than brought them to hospital and leave, we were there the whole time staying by their side until the surgeries done.
Although they got this free surgery, I know that somehow they were feeling nervous as well as excited about how they will view the world differently. Luckily, all of the surgeries for the patients were going well and I was so glad to be a part of the changes.
Throughout these projects; rabies vaccinations, installing computer labs and volunteering for KSF, it made me became a better change agent. Furthermore, I hope that these projects would not only be the lives changing moments for the people that I was working with me. Besides, I hope it would help to improve their lives in certain ways. One thing that I realized is that you had to overcome your fear or get out of your comfort zone in order to be a better change agent.