Rok Kern review: “These experiences allowed me to become the person I am today”
In September 2017 I applied for a service-learning trip with my school, Tatachilla Lutheran College in Adelaide, Australia. Little did I know 18 months down the track I would be exposed to an environment very different to home, Cambodia.
When I arrived in Phnom Penh, I felt an overwhelming feeling of curiosity and excitement. I was about to spend the next two weeks visiting new places, meeting Khmer people and learning about organisations, like Children in Families. These experiences allowed me to become the person I am today; someone open minded, someone inquisitive, someone who is ethically conscious and someone who is willing to support others as best I can.
Children in Families is an empowering organisation that stood out to me from all the NGO’s we visited and learnt about in Cambodia. CIF is dedicated “to providing high – quality family – based care for orphans and vulnerable children in Cambodia”. This is a value that CIF prides themselves in, something which I personally believe is important for supporting Cambodians ethically. Before I visited Cambodia, I learnt about CIF in Australia. I attended a workshop which focused on teaching Australian students what Cambodia is like and how CIF works within the country. Almost 6 months later I was in country. My team spent a day getting one on one interaction with the staff at CIF, and meeting two ambassadors while they told us about their experiences with this organisation.
Many months after returning to Australia, I contacted CIF once again. This time to use their knowledge as part of a research project at school. I worked alongside Stacie, an employee of CIF, who helped to answer various questions in regard to CIF.
Through these many occasions where I’ve had to the opportunity to work with CIF, I have been impacted personally, professionally, within my schooling and my potential future.
- Personally, I feel and think totally differently about the world around me. I feel open-minded to new opportunities and I now have a passion in helping developing countries, like Cambodia.
- I have also decided that because of my experiences with NGO’s I want to have a career in serving people. It may not be specifically people in third world countries, but it will be my contribution to supporting others in need, in any situation. At the moment, I’m looking at studying Occupational Therapy, this occupation would allow me to use my skills to help others rebuild theirs.
- Lastly, from working alongside CIF, I have learnt how important it is to be ethical, in not only travel but also in everyday life.
CIF inspired me with their vision, mission and goals in support of Cambodia. It is a strong and unique NGO, focusing on trying to encourage and support families to look after their children. CIF also raises awareness to schools and churches about the truth behind orphanages. You can truly see the passion within the CIF employees and volunteers.