Arthur & Lynn Freeman, volunteers from Canada
This initiative is intended to help these disadvantaged children acquire a useful skill to assist them in their future occupations. The children were aged from 6 to 13. ACODO uses a program called Little Friends as well as Family & Friends. We found that the younger children hardly knew any English & therefore it was necessary to supplement this program with other language exercises.
The first week was very difficult because we had to get to know the children and their abilities. We would suggest if at all possible that there be an overlapping period of volunteers, so that the outgoing volunteers can expedite the familiarity of the new volunteers with the programs and the children.
We found this experience to be very rewarding in seeing the children develop their English abilities.
If possible, we would suggest that future volunteers bring supplementary material, especially simple story books. The children love books and so they are excellent tools to stimulate language development. However, do not bring alphabet books or ones with categories of objects. The orphanage has many alphabet books and ones listing objects such as animals or vegetables and they are freely available in Siem Reap book-stores. A book with a simple story line is much more motivating and these were not available when we searched in the stores there. As much fun as Dr Seuss is for native English speakers, these books would not work with the Orphanage children.