Smiles on our faces on Day 1

"We rise by lifting others" 

Smile Village'18 Journal

Day 1: 2 June 18

Today, the Smile Village Team travelled to Phnom Penh International Airport, where we were greeted by Mr Ratha, the Managing Director of Smile Village (SV). Despite the incessant drizzle, the team went on a tour around SV to learn more about the initiative. Mr Ratha explained the layout of the village and introduced the focus of Solution To End Poverty (STEP): to provide an avenue for residents to undertake training and equip themselves for jobs outside of the village. STEP intends to support the families here in clearing their debts through micro-financing schemes. Such schemes aim to reduce interest rates by consolidating debts of the whole village and boosting credit-worthiness. Ultimately, families are encouraged to view Smile Village as a temporary residence, where debt-laden families can exit the poverty cycle, while being trained for work outside the village. We also learnt that SV has another NGO partner, Pour Un Sourire d'Enfants, which focusses mainly on education here at SV. 

After the tour, we got the privilege of tasting local cuisine for dinner. It was delicious! We also discussed our plans with Mr Ratha and Mr Pounlok, who is a full time staff in charge of community development in SV. With the feedback we received from them, we spent the rest of the day adjusting our programmes accordingly so that they can better suit the needs and constraints of the partners.

To end our day, we had our fair share of smiles and laughter from battling all the insects and creepy-crawlies in our bedroom. 

Written by Benedict and Lei Zuo