Horsham church team volunteer in Cambodia

Michelle Eachus, Matt Yates, David Summerfield, Ellie Brant, Tim Carter, Graham Ward, Sue Ward and Rod Kitchin SUS-141013-123825001
Michelle Eachus, Matt Yates, David Summerfield, Ellie Brant, Tim Carter, Graham Ward, Sue Ward and Rod Kitchin SUS-141013-123825001

A team of eight from Brighton Road Baptist Church in Horsham will be working with the poor and disadvantaged in Cambodia later this year.

The team will be working alongside the Cambodian Hope Organisation (CHO) in the city of Poipet, which has ten super-casinos and a reputation as a centre for people trafficking.

Graham and Sue Ward, joint team leaders, explained that parents and children go across the border to Thailand looking for work and often don’t come back unless they are rescued.

“That work is hard labour or sex industry, because that’s what brings in the money,” said Mrs Ward.

CHO is a Christian charity that educates the community about how traffickers operate and how to avoid them.

It also runs a school for 14 year-olds and helps poor families earn a living by providing vocational training and business loans.

Brighton Road Baptist Church first became involved with CHO three years ago through Tearfund’s connected church scheme.

Mrs Ward, retired dentist, will be running a strategic dental prevention programme, offering dental screening and reviewing brushing technique in the school.

“Children in Cambodia have got some of the world’s worst teeth. The large fizzy drink manufacturers own the water bottling plants and charge the same for both,” she said.

Significant dental decay is commonplace from a young age and when she visited in 2011 she met children who had never seen a toothbrush.

Gap year students, David Summerfield, 19, and Ellie Brant, 18, will be working with Matt Yates, maths teacher, in the school, using drama, games, craft and songs to engage the children, whose native language is Khmer.

They may also travel to some of the remote villages with CHO’s teachers to provide basic education to children living too far away to attend the school.

Passing on his teaching skills is a key aim of Mr Yates, who has been a teacher for 15 years. He will be providing teacher training to the school’s existing teaching staff and hopes the skills and knowledge he passes on will have a long-term positive impact.

Mr Summerfield, who has studied drama and recently starred as Danny in Grease at the Capitol, said he wanted to make children smile. He has a football coaching qualification and will be teaching different ways of moving around with the ball, passing the ball and shooting.

Miss Brant will be teaching action songs.

CHO needs its own source of income to fund its projects.

Michelle Eachus, carer, will be helping to develop the offering at CHO’s café, with a view to generating more income from passing western tourists.

Rod Kitchin, retired, 61, the oldest member of the team, will be providing training in digital photography to further CHO’s ambition to set up a small wedding photography business.

Mr Ward, IT consultant, will be helping CHO with its website and providing IT training at CHO’s office and school.

Reverend Tim Carter, senior minister, who will be running training courses for pastors, said: “One of the things I like about the church I’m in is that there are all sorts of connections with different parts of the world. It’s great to be going.”

Further information about CHO: www.cambodianhopeorganization.org; www.tearfund.org