Long Term Volunteers- Long Term Friends to CLS
Lyn and John Quilty are a retired couple from Perth, Western Australia – Lyn (formerly a secondary school English Teacher with a leadership role in Pastoral Care) John (formerly an Environmental Consultant)
Having raised seven children, and with twelve grandchildren at last count, they are used to a busy lifestyle and are obviously very people focussed. Both have had previous volunteering experience in Vietnam, having spent a total of nine months in 2012 and 2013 in Tam Ky and in Sapa. In 2014 they spent five months with CLS, from February to June, with a short break in the middle to attend the wedding of one of their sons in Australia. Lyn worked in the school, while John assisted with office management and operational tasks, and undertook a number of projects within the school campus and in the wider community.
John’s Journey at CLS
Working as a volunteer for CLS, John drew largely on his experience in running his own consultancy for twenty years and in project management he carried out on behalf of various clients. In his day to day work, John assisted the CLS Manager, Mr Nget Sothy, in basic administration and written english communications. John also provided advice on budgeting and office and staff management, assisted with reports, and worked with executive staff to help prepare job descriptions for all the staff positions at CLS.
John used his skills as an Environmental Consultant to enhance staff skills in the process to plan, cost and implement a number of projects in cooperation with CLS and the neighbouring Project Indochina Medical Clinic. These included the following:
- developing a sports field for the school,
- developing vegetable gardens for the high school and the primary school, to educate children and their parents in how to grow their own vegetables to supplement their meagre diets,
- digging two large ponds to provide water for the school vegetable gardens and for local villagers,
- developing a water supply for the community of Kampong Samrong, servicing one hundred families,
- building houses for five impoverished families,
- researching sanitation solutions for the many peasant families who have no toilets whatsoever, and
- assisting with securing a truck to transport school children from the salt fields to school and back each day.
Lyn’s Journey at CLS
As a mother, grandmother and English teacher of many years experience, Lyn brought a love of children, an understanding of their development and knowledge of teaching English to her volunteer work at CLS. Lyn worked five days a week at CLS, assisting the local Khmer teachers in the classroom, writing lesson plans, training the teachers to improve their English skills and classroom techniques and running activity sessions for the students. She also assisted the Health and Hygiene teacher to develop a broader program and use a more varied lesson structure.
With a strong background in pastoral care, Lyn also encouraged the teachers to focus on the well being of the whole child, paying greater attention to classroom absentees, health issues, family problems, social interaction at school, strengths and weaknesses in the class.
Lyn and John advise prospective volunteers to come for a minimum of one month, preferably longer, as it takes time to develop trust and good working relationships with the local staff and community. Be prepared to take little steps and respect the local culture. It will be very hot and dusty in the dry season, muddy in the wet season, but you will be welcomed with great love and respect.
Lyn and John enjoyed their experience at CLS so much, they plan to return for four months in 2015.
A note from CLS: CLS invites volunteers to experience a long term commitment to their position and our organisation. We consider volunteering to be about imparting skills and knowledge to those who you choose to volunteer with, respecting local culture and practises, but above all acknowledging & valuing the skills already held by staff, students and community of Chumkriel Language School.
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