Some members of the New Evangelisation Team which visited Cambodia just over a year ago "adopted" a missionary project in Siem Reap, the building of a Learning Centre. Below is a letter from Father Heri, the parish priest at Siem Reap:
"WE THANK ALL the Singaporeans who helped us make our dreams for a second Learning Centre in Siem Reap come true. I am writing to let you know how this centre was built.
We started ordering and buying woods in January 2005. It took us almost two months to buy all the woods needed. Then we dried the wood in Siem Reap church where we can guard the woods every day.
In March we ordered the poles for the fence and the pillars for the centre. These are made from cement. In the middle of March we started to make a well and to build the fences. We also put more soil in the land that we bought. These works finished just before Khmer New Year in the middle of April.
After the New Year break, we started building the centre. In June they finished with the roofing. Then they prepared the woods for the wall and the floor which they finished at the end of the month.
Then we needed to make the stairs, the rooms, the doors, bathrooms, toilets, etc. More soil was put on the ground to prepare a playground for children and, finally, everything was finished by August.
Top, the centre which the members of the Singapore New Evangelisation Team adopted is now alive with activities and children.
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We are very happy with the building. The woods are good, the house is simple but strong. Upstairs, we have one big room and two (smaller) rooms with bathrooms and toilets. Downstairs, we have one big classroom and also two rooms for guests. When we saw the building, we began to dream dreams.
For example, this centre will not only be a learning centre as we had planned, but could also be a welcoming and formation centre for the youths, not only for the Siem Reap parish but also for neighbouring communities. Since we have a big house, we can accommodate more than forty youths. Some of us have offered our service to cook when we have youth meetings.
The playground will not only be for children but also for youth so that they can play volleyball in our centre. We plan to have a library there for the children and the youth. Our catechists have proposed that we can have a regular formation for the youths who are interested to be catechists.
Now that the building is finished, we are working to make a garden around the centre and it will take time. But our youths are enthusiastic about our new centre and they are ready to help to make the garden. Once again, thank you very much for your support and your love for us."
Left, children are taught the English language and other skills at the centre to give them a better future. They are also taught dancing to help them reclaim their cultural heritage.