It’s been an extremely rewarding few years working at Camps International since I left college and my Borneo 2011 trip with The Burgate School, watching thousands of volunteers spread hard work around the world where they have been making a real difference to the communities in which we work. Whilst my girlfriend, Lydia, and I, have been fundraising towards our trip back to Southeast Asia to contribute once again to the amazing work we at Camps do for the local people, environment and wildlife, I have had the pleasure to see more and more work being done to the projects that my Burgate team started 3 years ago.
However it wasn’t until we reached the shores of beautiful Mantanani Island and the foothills of Mount Kinabalu at Bongkud when we both realised just the extent of what has been accomplished!
Toilet blocks, so that 20+ villagers no longer have to share the same unflushable toilet, community centres, kindergartens, extra classrooms, teacher accommodation blocks, community shops, 100% recycled buildings, marine conservation, wildlife conservation, environmental conservation (thousands of trees have been planted in an attempt to bring much needed attention to the quickly disappearing Borneon rainforest), vast amounts of road repair, water storage and water purifying stations – the list literally goes on and on!!!
IÛªve attached a few photos that we took to give some examples of the types of project work that have been completed in Borneo and what still is on the agenda to be done:
And that was all before we reached the plains of Cambodia in Camp Beng Melea!!
Words cannot describe well enough the warm heartfelt appreciation these villagers gave us once they saw two Camps International t-shirts walk into camp.!
The clear work that has been done so far in these two countries was just simply amazing; never have we felt so proud to be a part of something in our lives.
A prime example of what Camps is doing for the people of Beng Melea is their primary school. Out of the many hundreds and hundreds of students, only 3 or 4 teachers remain there to educate them. Because the school has minimal/no sufficient teacher accommodation, and due to the location of Beng Melea, all the teachers travel from afar to help out. They either do not make it for a whole week of teaching or they leave permanently after an academic year! The problem this has is that the students do not get enough hours in to learn what they need, nor do they have the appeal to come to school when it is understaffed and overcrowded.
This is where Camps come in!!
Teacher accommodation block construction is underway as we speak, plans to renovate classrooms will come next and the appeal for children to come to school and learn every day will be set in stone. Water storage and clean drinking water stations have already been installed at the school and a feeding program has been implemented extremely well! For all the children but especially for the ones who have to allow 3 – 4 hours walking in the morning to get to an 8:00AM start, they now have access to a nutritious breakfast on arrival, rather than going without anything until the afternoon or in some cases, until the end of the day!
We also host a class of children in Beng Melea camp every morning teaching English due to their classroom being crushed after a heavy storm over night.
We do have a confession to make and that is that we only stayed in each of our Camps across South East Asia for 4 nights each, however this was more than enough time to come to realise just how important our set up within these poor communities is and just the incredible work that has been accomplished by all of our volunteers, and what amazing work is set to be completed by all of our volunteers yet to participate!!
We both would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has/is contributing to the cause by either going on one of our school/gap year expeditions or who has fundraised over the years for the Camps Foundation.
The work that you have been doing really HAS made a HUGE difference, and will leave the most positive of marks possible on the local people forever.
A big pat-on-the-back to all involved!