Visit to Pichey Rangsey Primary School by Caulfield Grammar Teacher

1 With Denzil And A Few Teachers Cambodia

A recent trip to Cambodia was enhanced unimaginably by a day spent with Denzil Sprague and our visit to the Pichey Rangsey Primary School. Already impressed by the resilience, warmth and happiness of the people we were meeting, we were expecting the school to present a similar positive atmosphere. We were totally unprepared for the overwhelming joyfulness and excitement that erupted as we drove through the school gate, to be surrounded by masses of cheering students. Denzil is clearly a hero to the children, teachers and the families in this rural community.

As we toured the classrooms, witnessed proud renditions of Abba?s ?I Have A Dream?, commended school work, enjoyed a few football lessons, chatted with teachers and exchanged smiles with many students, we could sense an immense pride in this place. That Denzil expects the rooms and grounds to be kept in excellent order is clearly evident. Not a scrap of rubbish was to be seen (in a country not too good at this!).

We heard about students who return for the sheer pleasure of ?being there?, the success in terms of health and learning, and the desire by so many more to attend. Plans for further improvements ? paint to combat the mould and bacterial growth on cement-render walls, some technology (music had to be generated by battery), modest accommodation for visitors ? all present challenges which are undoubtedly being pondered by Denzil and his sponsors. The Humanitus project is achieving awe-inspiring improvements in the lives of these wonderful people who have suffered so much so recently, yet exude so much hope for the future.

We would like to repeat our thanks to Sally Cordner for making us aware of the work being done for this community, to Denzil Sprague for his generosity of time and patience with our questions, to sponsors like Caulfield Grammar School for the funds which are making a difference, and to the school community for their enthusiastic welcome. We left humbled by what we saw and heard, and determined to spread the word wherever possible ? go, help and know that you can make a difference where it is truly needed. Thanks Humanitus.

Lyndall & Malcolm Baird.

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