News April 2020

Dear friends of Kamboo Project,

You all know it: all over the world Corona dominates the news. But help doesn’t know or tolerate shutdowns, and that’s why things continue at Kamboo Project on the ground – of course in compliance with the conditions imposed by the local authorities, which also exist in Cambodia. At the moment, we and our important local partners are all well and healthy, and we hope it will stay that way. Even if there are some restrictions, everyday life wants to be mastered, problems want to be solved, projects want to be implemented and the foundations for a better future must be laid. A lot has happened since the last newsletter in 2019. Above all, our largest project to date has been completed in cooperation with a leading industrial company.

Geberit Social Project 2019
Every year, Geberit, the European market leader for sanitary products with headquarters in Switzerland, makes a sustainable contribution to the quality of life of people in developing regions. In 2019, Geberit chose to accept our application for a large project in the region of Siem Reap! The two schools “Arranh Rangsey Primary School” and “Wat Roka Primary School” received new infrastructure elements. These include classrooms and teachers’ rooms, a drinking water supply and sanitary facilities. A total of 1480 schoolchildren and 47 teachers are thus being helped to meet basic needs in daily school operations. Kamboo Project supported the planning and implementation of the construction work on site and was the local interface between Geberit, the two schools and the school authorities.

Kamboo Project would like to thank Stefanie Steiner-Naths for her leadership on site, Michael Fischer for the flexible and careful technical planning and implementation and the trainees Vanessa Hübschle, Diogo Almeida, Tonia Erni, Alina Salfinger, René Gira, Marko Track, Lukas Waffenschmidt, Nadine Korge, Markus Engel and Manuel Moser for their passionate commitment, also in two night shifts… Many thanks also to Tobias Burkart for his help on this journey and the many great pictures and video clips.

In the final phase of the project, ten Geberit apprentices and their coaches Stefanie Steiner and Michael Fischer came to Siem Reap for two weeks in November 2019. They had a lot of enthusiasm in their luggage, materials and tools had already been delivered before. They installed extensive Geberit sanitary facilities in the school’s toilet house and were involved in the hygiene program for the school children. During two weeks, there was a very close community between the Geberit team and our Kamboo Project Team. The intensive and demanding work on site demanded the best from all those involved every day. At work, in the various leisure activities, in the encounter between cultures. The most important goal was achieved: to create new sanitary facilities for the school children on site!. Furthermore, everyone has learned from each other and will take many experiences with them into the future.

“I thought it was great that we were able to help directly and not just send a donation… Here we were right on the spot and could help immediately. There should be many more projects like this,” writes Manuel Moser in the Geberit Aquaclean Blog.

A great commitment from Geberit, many thanks!

Sustainable projects are not just created by handing over “hardware” that is urgently needed. It is at least as important to help establish knowledge, to sensitize for problems and solutions and to make a project come alive. Routine hygiene measures such as washing hands and brushing teeth are difficult to implement if the local environment does not offer the appropriate opportunities and role models. Such things also have to be learned and well anchored, and who is better suited to help than the teachers themselves? Our work in the Geberit Social Project 2019 has inspired us to develop the WASH hygiene program, which is intended to enable teachers to provide comprehensive hygiene instruction for school children.
WASH stands for “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” and includes a two-year curriculum that is intended to accompany the school day on a permanent basis. Everyone is involved, from the school authorities to the school children themselves and their parents. The practical level is as important as the theoretical one. School children and teachers set rules together, maintain the sanitary facilities and also clean them themselves. In developing the program modules we were supported by the two volunteers Julia Sauter and Martin Hofmann, who brought helpful know-how from their scientific positions in Germany. Many thanks at this point!

WASH will not only be carried out in the two schools of the Geberit social project, but is also to be implemented in as many other schools as possible. A doubly sensible approach in the age of COVID-19! To make this work, we use donations from private individuals. However, we also ask companies and foundations whether they would like to help an entire school with the implementation.

Clean water in Ta Ey
We rarely realize the impact that access to clean water can have on our whole life. The elementary school in Ta Ey, not far from Siem Reap, shows clearly how many aspects of life are connected to water. Without the chance to wash regularly under hygienic conditions, without toilets that flush and drain to avoid the formation of infection sources, it is not even possible to attend school regularly. In Cambodia, teenage girls, in particular, suffer from such conditions; on average they miss one of four school weeks a month because they have to stay at home.
Poor hygienic conditions not only make people ill, they also make even basic education difficult or impossible. In the school in Ta Ey, there are 300 boys and girls and their teachers, who urgently need functioning toilets and a supply of clean drinking water, just to have a basis for a good school education. Together with the Kleine Hilfsaktion e.V., which also provides its own funds, we started a crowdfunding (on in December 2019, which in the end raised 2’620 CHF. Enough to implement the project and to bring things into a good flow. Many thanks to donors!
Dancing for a good cause
Anyone can support, and even many small contributions add up to concrete help. The Christmas fundraising campaign of the SalsaOlé dance school in Wohlen in the Swiss canton of Aargau raised a full 2,000 CHF for the work of Kamboo Project. Unusual for aid projects, but typical for Kamboo Project, Tobias Burkart, who is part of the SalsaOlé team, was able to document the work that is being done in Cambodia with the help of such donations. To be close, to be concrete, authentic and verifiable, that is part of our work.
Welcome to Kamboo Project
It is essential that we make it possible for the local people to work on the future of their society. One of these future workers is now Pin Somnang. The 20-year-old is currently working on her degree in tourism and hospitality at the USEA University and has recently joined the Kamboo Project team in Cambodia. “After my first experiences, I am looking forward to working at Kamboo Project and thus contributing to my society in the future,” Somnang tells us. Welcome to our team!

Finally, let’s briefly turn back to the current situation. Will our projects, will the people in Cambodia feel the influence of the Corona virus? For sure. How exactly, is still difficult to estimate. What is also certain, however, is that a challenge like this does not make our work secondary, quite the contrary: we are creating the basis so that people can cope better with situations like this in the future. There is still much to be done.
Your help is very much appreciated!

With this in mind, best regards from
Your Kamboo Project Team