Home > Education, Local News > Northpoint Students Bring New Opportunities to Cambodian Orphanage

Northpoint Students Bring New Opportunities to Cambodian Orphanage

Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy contributes long term change to Cambodian orphanage. Plans to return with more support in 2012!
Bryce Schuler (NELA student) in front of the boy’s bath house built by NELA students during their visit last school 
The Rotary Interact club at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy created a new project this year- the Cambodian Orphanage Sewing Training (COST) Program. The idea came from high school students; Bryce Schuler and Brenna Sullivan, who traveled to Cambodia with NELA in May, 2010. As part of that trip they spent 5 days working in an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia. The U.S. students developed a close connection with the children in the orphanage, and wanted to continue their relationship when they returned to this country. Discussions revealed that the children needed a training program so that when they left the orphanage they would have skills that could be immediately able to provide them living wages. The suggestion was that girls could learn sewing, and boy could learn motorcycle repair, both skills that have excellent job opportunities in Cambodia.
Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy (NELA) is a non-profit, independent, charter, high school in Prescott. The school serves grades 9 through 12 and offers rigorous, college-prep academics as well as exciting travel and extra-curricular opportunities. After students traveled to Cambodia, the Rotary Interact club immediately took up the cause and worked all year to raise funds to start the COST program. They had bake sales and craft booths at events in Prescott, with their funds dedicated to the COST Program. In addition, they were able to get a local woman’s book group from Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, who were inspired after reading the book Half The Sky, to agree to provide matching funds for the COST Program. Student Marco Renzi expanded the Rotary Interact club to become a Do Something Club, which allowed him to write a grant to support the COST Program. While the grant decision is still pending, the students were able to send $750 to Cambodia in May, 2011. This allowed the purchase of 4 sewing machines (since there is no electricity in the orphanage, these have to be treadle machines!), and teachers salary for 4 months.
This program will continue this next year. Rotary Interact/Do Something students will pursue funding from local quilting and sewing groups who might be interested in supporting sewing classes in Cambodia. There is also a plan to approach local automobile/motorcycle shops to start funding for the boys classes. Students from Northpoint aren’t done! There is discussion about returning to Cambodia in January, 2012, to explore the culture further, and return to the orphanage to keep our connection and work going.
If you would like to support this project please contact the school. The group also welcomes community members who can share their experiences in Cambodia. Please contact the school atinfo@northpointacademy.org with ideas!
Pannha En (right) with orphanage children with the newly purchased sewing machines
Girls from the orphanage starting to put the sewing machines together

 Prescott News

Categories: Education, Local News
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