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Rotary Club of Greater Springfield

Sue Roger    May 1, 2024    2 min read   

On Thursday April 4 at our Rotary meeting, we had the great privilege of listening to a presentation by Emily Williamson, the Founder and Program Director of the Non-Government Organisation REACH Siem Reap, created to help break the cycle of poverty in Cambodia.

REACH Siem Reap was founded in August 2019 and the community centre was opened just 3 days before the Covid-19 pandemic began. This made the journey very difficult but also extremely rewarding. 

REACH Siem Reap founder and program director Emily Williamson and Rotary Club of Greater Springfield president David Goss.

Now established, the 12 integrated programs are having an enormous impact on the local community.  Their holistic offerings of widespread services such as Education, Nutrition and Health support more than 140 families, meeting their needs and helping the 280 children enrolled in the NGO to thrive.  

Once a family is enrolled at REACH, the students and their guardians have access to everything offered. The goal is long term sustainable change, and the best way to facilitate this is through local empowerment and collaboration. As such, the programs are all locally run and the strategies are carried out alongside other respected NGOs, local authorities and child protection agencies.

What is the main problem? 

Post-genocide conflict, the Cambodian economy is growing, but sadly, with it grows the socio-economic gap between the rich and the poor. As the minority gets wealthier, the majority of families living in dire poverty are being left behind. These families are living without access to basic human needs and are surviving hand-to-mouth. Furthermore, without proper education, they are succumbing to exploitative inhumane labour, prostitution, and modern-day slavery.

The solution:

The need for support goes beyond teaching English to a child. Beneficiaries require all-rounded aid, which focuses not only on the development of a child’s education, but also in supporting the day-to-day survival of their families. 

Through integrated program offerings, the aim is to ensure that the needs of each child and their family are met, so that they can effectively break free from poverty, in a productive and lasting way. To help support this great NGO you can donate directly or join their Charity Challenge of a 650K bike ride! 

Thanks, Emily, for your amazing talk. 

To find out more about REACH Siem Reap, visit their website at https://reachsiemreap.org

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Sue Roger