After the board meeting of Marist Solidarity Cambodia (MSC), an international development NGO in Cambodia, I visited the site of the new Marist Community Village. The workers are on a tight schedule to beat the wet season but they have the basic structures of three houses completed and foundations were being laid for two more while I was visiting. In all there will be 8 student houses for those attending the local Government High School after leaving LaValla Primary School. There will be also two staff houses and there will be common areas for kitchen, dining, computers and library.
The standout feature of the houses constructed to date is the beautiful local tiles on a high roofing all designed to give maximum natural ventilation and long lasting protection. The local site manager and MSC accountant, Pagna, remarked to me that “the high quality of the building materials and finish is a credit to the building company”.
One feature of the site already functioning is the small scale agricultural training programme. There are three trainees at present learning from their trainers Pia and Lino, about care of chickens and ducks plus growing of chilli as a commercial crop and their plentiful banana crop almost ready for harvesting. Determined to get underway, the trainers have regular instruction in a section of the chicken coup until a purpose built agricultural centre is built in one of the final stages of the project this year.
The Marist Village gives another more definite pathway for those children in the provinces in Cambodia who are not allowed to access local schools because of their physical disabilities. Many are young adults by the time they reach secondary school age and relish the independent living in shared houses. The support of AMS donors has been very significant in the finance plan of this project.
Brother Allen Sherry fms
CEO, Australian Marist Solidarity