10 staff members from Nonotuck's Lawrence and Lowell offices recently traveled to Cambodia to volunteer and experience the culture. Their trip was inspired by a call to make a difference through small acts of kindness.
The team brought donations to distribute at local schools and hospitals. These items included school supplies, food, and personal care products. In many cases they found that there was a specific need, so they would head to the market to stock up. One of the schools, which is home to many of its students, needed pillows. So, the group went out and purchased over 50 pillows to donate to the children at the school. Our generous staff were inspired by the feeling you get when you help someone in need, and they found that the most important asset they provided was their time.
They visited several hospitals during their time in Cambodia including Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, Battambang Provincial Referral Hospital in Krong Battambang, and Siem Reap Provincial Hospital In Krong Siem Reap. They distributed supplies such as instant noodles, canned fish, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen, and spent time connecting with the patients. The team was moved by the stories of the people they met and found their time at the hospitals extremely rewarding.
In addition to visiting hospitals, the Nonotuck team also spent time at several schools and children’s organizations in Cambodia. They volunteered at the National Borey For Infants and Children Organization in Phnom Penh, Odambang 1 School in Battambang Province, and the Coconut School in Kompong Speu Province. The team brought packages of school supplies for the children containing notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, whiteout, fruit snacks, and cookies.
The Coconut school in Kompong Speu Province, Cambodia is a very special place. The school has 65 students, and it is also a shelter for 12 children who are orphans. Located in the mountains, the entire school is made from recycled items such as coffee cups and car tires. The head of the school built it to give children in the area a brighter future. He asked the children to pick up cans and bottles from the town and bring them as their school fee. One can at a time they have built the school and simultaneously cleaned up the town. Children at the school study English and Khmer, and learn to use computers which are solar powered. The Nonotuck team donated 50 pillows, two 50 kg bag of rice, canned fish, dried fish, sausages and $300 in cash to the school. The team was so impressed by the resourcefulness and creativity of the Coconut School and they enjoyed playing soccer against the students with goals made from plastic bottles.
At Nonotuck’s Lawrence and Lowell offices there is a strong Cambodian community. For many members of the Nonotuck team, the trip to Cambodia was a chance to connect with their roots. For some it was their first time visiting the country that their family is from. Several members of the team were even able to connect with relatives they had not seen in decades! This trip was all about community, connection, and family.
Our staff spent two weeks in Cambodia volunteering, traveling, connecting and learning, and they returned with full hearts. Immense gratitude goes out to this amazing team for sharing their kindness here and across the world!
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.