Peace House Program
“Research has shown that about two million houses in Cambodia do not meet minimum quality standards for design, durability, access to water/sanitation as well as land tenure,” according to Habitat for Humanity.
The Peace House Program, a community initiative by Glen Waverley Secondary College, contributes to help change that one house at a time. Now running successfully for 3 consecutive years in partnership with Life and Hope Association and monks from Siem Reap, the Peace House Program aims to build homes for disadvantaged families in Cambodia. Organised in association with the Asia Pacific Youth Foundation, the entire construction is successfully completed and financed with the help of funds generated by students themselves from running Casual Days and Cambodia Trivia Nights and other activities as well as the generosity of the Chea family.
Shania and Alana, daughters of First National Waverley City’s very own Jessica Chea, were amongst other five most adventurous and socially committed students who ventured to Cambodia to help build 2 ‘Peace Houses’ in 2015.
Both girls shared their positive experience coming home with many unforgettable memories. “We are very happy we got to experience helping out by building 2 houses for 2 disadvantaged families and we got to see a different world from where we live. We easily forget how lucky we really are sometimes.”
Jessica says, “even if it was only a 12-day program, I can see the impact it had on my children. They learned to show more appreciation, a lesson they wouldn’t have learned from the comfort of home that we can easily take for granted.” She adds, “It is an eye opener and it touches them. It inspires them to expand their thinking that they even want to do more for the Cambodian families. They appreciate more at home of what the parents have had offered them in the past. The program has helped to make a very big difference.”
Image by Glen Waverley Secondary College
The first few days of the program involves students meeting the disadvantaged families and truly getting to know them to find out their needs. With the assistance of local builders, the students get hands-on in the whole process of building the home from digging the footings to laying the floors as well as the furniture setup in preparation for the handover day. Exciting side trips to Cambodia’s top cultural places in between the working days are organised for the students to really immerse themselves in the Cambodian culture. This year, the program continues strongly with seven students from Year 9-11 heading to Cambodia this December to volunteer.
In an interview with Program Coordinator Mr Cameron Dunwoody, he explains, “students can really see what a life changing difference it is for those disadvantaged families.” He would like to encourage all students to explore any social justice opportunities that they can access such as the Peace House Program. The program will be an ongoing part of the curriculum in continuous partnership with Life and Hope Association. Glen Waverley Secondary College is always building up the reputation of the program to encourage parents of students to give their children a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in a well-established program such as Peace House Program to make a difference in the lives of others.
Applications are now open for Year 9-12 students of GWSC to participate in the Peace House Program 2017. Mr Cameron Dunwoody welcomes any questions you may have about the program. Please call Mr Dunwoody on (03) 8805 6700 to get involved.