CRDT Joins to Be a World Change Maker
In 2011, CRDT started partnering with the Colorado-based US organization Students Shoulder to Shoulder (SStS), an international school of global citizenship. Every year, SStS sends a group of students from its current 8 school affiliates to work with CRDT on community service projects in CRDT target areas. So far, the groups have been coordinated by CRDTours (CRDT’s ecotourism tour operator) to help develop community-based ecotourism on the Mekong island of Koh Preah, in Stung Treng Province.
A 12th grade student returned from the field trip in Stung Treng and said during the Annual Global Solution Forum of SStS that “I felt guilty after experiencing the true way of life and hardship of the Cambodian people in this remote village. I felt that we, the US people, materially have too much in our lives compared to the people I met in Koh Preah. How can the resources in the world be divided more fairly?” He committed himself not to be materialistic and optimize what he is having.
As part of this partnership, from Oct 20-31, CRDT staff, Ms. Ul Socheat, joined a forum in the US conducted by SStS. The objective of the forum was to introduce CRDT to SStS school partners so that they could learn how their local NGO partner is working to address poverty and environmental problems in Cambodia.
During the 10-day visit, CRDT presented its work and partnership model to around 1,000 adult students and parents in the auditoriums of 3 schools: Vail Mountain in Denver, Colorado; Thayer Academy in Boston, Massachusetts; and Waynflete School in Portland, Maine. Moreover, Socheat was also asked to present about the Cambodian culture, history, and way of life to the US students in some classes ranged from kindergarten to 12th grade. Apart from sharing about her work, Socheat also joined in a workshop with two other NGOs’ partners of SStS from Tibet and Bolivia to learn from NGOs’ work and their challenges, organizational struggles, and definitions of resilience and sustainability.
The trip was very fruitful for both partners. This trip provided an opportunity for our CRDT staff to get to know America, expand the network abroad, and learn some new knowledge about fundraising and NGO challenges. SStS could show to the US people its partner on the ground and let the NGOs tell how important the oversea program is for shaping the future interests of US high school students as responsible global citizens contributing to the problems of world poverty and environmental degradation.
By Ul Socheat