Volunteering at Feeding Dreams Cambodia
Jeff Loors a regular volunteer at Feeding Dreams Cambodia and dear supporter recently wrote about us and his story was featured in his work places magazine - a very interesting read - we love you Jeff
Whether teaching, mentoring, demonstrating to the locals how a lawnmower works, visiting the slums where his students live or caring for locals who are homeless, malnourished and sick, Human Resources Executive Director Jeff Loors volunteering experience in Cambodia has been nothing short of rewarding.
It all started nearly a decade ago when he took a trip to Vietnam. On his way home and, at the request of family friend Kerry, Jeff "dropped" into Siem Reap to visit the non -government school Kerry had set up for children who could not afford education through the government's public system.
"I went over there for a week just to have a look, really enjoyed it and have been going back ever since," he said. Jeff's love for Cambodia, its culture and its people was instant and he vowed to return as soon as he could.
The school, Feeding Dreams, provides free education, including all books and materials and a nutritious meal each day to 800 Cambodian children ranging from five to 15 years.
Jeff selflessly donates the majority of his personal annual leave to return to Cambodia once or twice a year to offer a helping hand at Feeding Dreams.
He originally stepped into his volunteering role as a "teacher's helper" — assisting by Trade Williams Senior Communication Officer Communication Services Branch the Khmer teacher to teach English, maths and morals (including domestic violence prevention and respecting women). "Feeding Dreams employs local Khmer people as teachers, cooks, outreach services officers, admin staff and tuk tuk drivers. Volunteers from Australia and overseas also come to help where needed," Jeff said
Jeff says Feeding Dreams gives children coming from the slums an education, particularly in English, so they will have a better opportunity to find employment. "All our costs are met through donations from our generous volunteers and support from all over the world. We don't get any funding from the Cambodian government."
Jeff's role quickly evolved from teacher's helper to mentor for Khmer managers and more recently, he used his extensive HR experience to draw up employment contracts for all the Feeding Dreams staff so they enjoy secure employment and leave entitlements.
While Jeff is doing less teaching these days, he was asked to develop and conduct English conversation classes last year
Without a formal teaching qualification, he enlisted the help of Education Queensland and their International School who provided him with teaching aids and support to develop the course. It is now a regular part of the curriculum for all students.
Another win for Feeding Dreams two years ago was a large donation from Rotary International to erect a hospitality training centre which opened in June 2016. The centre offers a six-month intensive hospitality training course to young adults from impoverished backgrounds. Participants then go on to a four -month internship in one of the well-known hotel chains, with the hope of securing employment afterwards.
Due to the success of Jeff's English conversation classes to the younger children, his trip earlier this year focused on providing English conversation classes to the hospitality students.
This was done by developing scripts and scenarios specific to the hospitality industry. Mastering English relevant to their industry will further boost the students' chances of gaining employment in a country where tourism is rapidly growing and competition is fierce.
As for the foreseeable future, Jeff plans to return to Cambodia as often as he can.
"Whatever you can do to help, you do. Now that I have been going back every year, I have seen the kids grow up and they recognise you and come up and give you a cuddle. It is really touching to see what they've become."
For more information about Feeding Dreams and volunteering, visit www.feedingdreannscambodia.org.