Northbridge Students Introduced to Work of NGOs

Northbridge International School Cambodia (NISC) on Wednesday hosted its second annual NGO fair to raise pupils’ awareness of the social and environmental is­sues affecting Cambodia.

About 300 students from grade 4 through grade 12 met with representatives of 18 NGOs who offered short presentations on their work and how to get in­volved in their projects.

“We want to get beyond passively admiring the nice work these NGOs do and have them engage students to show how they can directly help,” said Luke Watson, the school’s community and services coordinator who helped organize the event.

“We have told the students to really look at what these organizations do and if they deal with a problem in society that they don’t like, they should become motivated to do what they can do to help.”

The NGOs present ranged from the Washington-based National Democratic Institute to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center and Friends International.

NISC grade 6 students also raised $2,100 which they donated Wednesday to Phnom Penh’s Riverkids Foundation to repair about 80 homes damaged by floods in Phnom Penh, $500 to Cambodian Kids Foundation to buy and distribute medication for an outbreak of conjunctivitis caused by the flooding and $400 each to Daugh­ters and Friends International.

Chheang Phea, program director of Riverkids, said he was delighted by the students’ efforts and said it is a big challenge to show youth who do not live in poverty how lucky they are.

“The children in the slum communities we work with are all interested in and committed to learning—but they face so many struggles,” he said.

One Northbridge pupil, 17-year-old LyLy So, said that NGOs visiting the school had given students a much-needed window into issues affecting Cambodia.

“I think one of the benefits of today’s fair is that it will help the students see beyond our world, as most of the students here are all wealthy, so it helps to encourage them be­cause we are lucky and very privileged,” she said.

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