I need your help!

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
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Trip End Jun 25, 2011


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Flag of Japan  ,
Monday, November 12, 2007

This December I'll be traveling to Cambodia for 10 days as a volunteer with an organization called PEPY Ride. PEPY's (stands for Protect the Earth Protect Yourself) mission is "to support rural Cambodian communities through greater educational opportunities and  increased access to education." Before coming to Japan, I wasn't familiar with any of the countries in South East Asia, but after living here for over a year I've really become interested in this part of the world and traveling to as many of those countries as I can.    After I learned about the famous temple Angor Wat and the Khmer Rouge regime that devastated the country, Cambodia became one of the top countries on my list. For more information on this fascinating country visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodia

In addition to volunteering with PEPY (I'll tell you a little more about PEPY and the trip in a bit) I'm also raising money for them. If you already know about the dire situation in Cambodia and how PEPY Ride is helping, you can make an online donation right now. It's easy!! Go to http://pepyride.org/index.php In the lower left hand corner is a link that says donate with google checkout. Click on this link and it'll take you to the "Donate" page. You can type in the amount you want to donate and click "Donate Now".

**
Please be sure to send me an e-mail (kateclute@gmail.com) after you donate so that I can alert PEPY and your donation will be credited to me. A donation of at least $25 would be fantastic, but I'd be happy with any amount you can afford to give!! Donations are tax deductible.**

If you're not ready to make a donation yet and would like to learn more, please read on :)

Cambodia desperately needs our help! It's a very poor country in Southeast Asia (Cambodia borders Thailand to its west, Laos to its north, and Vietnam to its east) that is now only starting to recover from an incredibly violent and tumultuous past. In 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime came into power with devastating results. In Pol Pot's quest for a utopic agrarian society (a radical form of communism where the whole population had to work in collective farms or forced labor projects), the Khmer Rouge killed between 2 and 3 million Cambodians, 1/3 of the population, through murder, forced hard labor and starvation. Pol Pot specifically sought out and slaughtered educated people like teachers, professors, engineers and doctors. One of their mottos was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."It was one of the most lethal regimes of the 20th century. 

After four years of rule, the Khmer Rouge regime was removed from power in 1979 as a result of an invasion by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Amazingly enough, the Khmer Rouge regime survived into the 1990s as a resistance movement operating in western Cambodia. In 1996, following a peace agreement, their leader Pol Pot formally dissolved the organization. Pol Pot died April 15, 1998, never having been put on trial. It wasn't until after this that relative political stability was established and reconstruction began.

As we know from other countires in the world, like Iraq, reconstruction is a slow process, but even more so with such a poor and devastated population. The entire infrastructure of Cambodia is still being built, and people in rural areas are especially hard off. Even today, most people live at near-starvation levels off of small subsistence farms without electricity or safe drinking water. Medical care is almost non-existent. The state of education is dismal. There aren't enough schools, and the existing ones are often in terrible disrepair. Illiteracy is rampant. Many children don't even finish elementary school, and only a small fraction ever make it to junior high school.

That's where PEPY Ride (http://www.pepyride.org) comes in. PEPY was started by several women living in Japan who wanted to do a charity bike ride across Cambodia to riase money for a new elementary school. They raised enough money for that school, and recently added a junior highschool to the list. PEPY has stayed involved at that elementary school and has recently done things such as: improved sanitation (they added a water pump, hand washing station and toilets), started an organic farm that is completely student run, and got clean drinking water into the classrooms. It has also hired and pays the salary for an English and computer skills teacher. PEPY also awards bicycles to graduating 6th graders so they can get to junior highschool. The only way PEPY is able to fund things like this is with the help of people on volunteer tourism trips, like the one I'm going on, and with the support of donations from volunteers' friends and family.

During my trip I'll spend several days volunteering at the PEPY Ride elementary school. We'll be teaching classes on personal hygiene, making improvements to the classrooms and school grounds, preparing the library for new books, and prepping and giving out the first bikes in the Bike-to-School program. We'll also bring the 5th grade students on a field trip to Angor Wat and the nearby temples- most of the students have never been, and it's sure to be a trip they (as well as I) will always remember.

I hope you will support me and PEPY with a donation. My goal is $500!
It's easy to donate!! Go to http://pepyride.org/index.php In the lower left hand corner is a link that says donate with google checkout. Click on this link and it'll take you to the "Donate" page. You can type in the amount you want to donate and click "Donate Now". **Please be sure to send me an e-mail (kateclute@gmail.com) after you donate so that I can alert PEPY and your donation will be credited to me. A donation of at least $25 would be fantastic, but I'd be happy with any amount you can afford to give!! Donations are tax deductible.**

Thanks so much for your support!
I will be sure to post tons of pictures and a blog of my trip when I return.

Love,
Kate
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Comments

rkjung
rkjung on

Glad to Support Your Work
Kate,
Love to see how your Japan work has morphed to Cambodia. Do you still plan to teach when you return? Glad to support your work.
Cheers,
Dr. Jung

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