Inside Steung Meanchey – a walk through our communities with Scott Neeson

Almost every night Scott Neeson is in Phnom Penh he spends time walking around our local communities. It’s a chance to listen to the families and the children we work with, offering support and encouragement. It’s also an opportunity to see first hand the real and changing problems people in Steung Meanchey face, problems CCF can then try to work out solutions to. 

Recently, he was joined on one of these walks by Helen Adams, the Head of Junior School at Christ Church Grammar School in Perth, one of our staunchest long-term supporters. She wrote about her experience and gave us permission to publish it. 

Accompanying Scott on his nightly walkabout through Steung Meanchey one evening was an experience that will stay with me for a very long time. Volunteering in the school at Prek Toil had given me an insight into the conditions of the area. However, during the walk with Scott, we wound our way deeper.

As we walked, children came towards our small group, waiting patiently to be acknowledged by Scott by their name. The connection he had with every single child that he greeted was obvious, he had a personal comment for each person, noting they had a sponsor or that they were doing well in school. Take into consideration that Cambodian Children’s fund cares for over 2,300 children and Scott knows all their histories and current situations. This level of knowledge and involvement is what makes this model of support and intervention so successful.

As we walked through a labyrinth of dwellings, children accompanied us, seeking connection through hand holding and hugs, I was continually overwhelmed by the happiness of these children. For me seeing children that I had been teaching over the past week was an added delight, to witness where they lived was quite confronting. These children would have to be the most engaged, enthusiastic and motivated children I have ever worked with. They know that how important an education is, that it has the potential to change their future.

On finishing the walk through the area, I was once again in awe of these children’s capacity for happiness and joy in the face of living conditions that are so distressing to view and hard to imagine. Over the past three years that I have travelled to Cambodia to volunteer in the classrooms at CCF I have seen tremendous progress and developments that are continually enhancing these children’s lives.


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