In 2012, with support from the Bank, Deutsche Bank volunteers returned once again to Siem Reap as part of our continued commitment to programmes in Cambodia. Spearheaded by a small team of enthusiastic volunteers, ten of our staff from various departments spent four hectic but rewarding days from December 11 to 14 rendering their services at various locations.
The group wasted no time getting to work. Upon landing in Siem Reap at noon, the volunteers had a quick lunch before heading to the water lab. Armed with tough work boots and cotton work gloves, the group built the water filters from scratch – working with the moulds, mixing the cement and casting the concrete.
The group continued tirelessly for the next two days in the villages, installing bio-sand filters for more than 30 households. This entailed washing gravel and sand, pouring them into the filter and treating the filter with chlorine. The challenge was getting water to wash the filter – the water sources sometimes were far away from the households and were from places unfamiliar to us urban dwellers. The volunteers had to travel back and forth with heavy buckets and also quickly learn the tricks of lifting buckets of water from a deep well with a stick, or even from a pond!
Despite the busy schedule, the volunteers detoured for an hour in the morning to visit Angkor Hospital for Children, a Deutsche Bank-supported hospital providing free quality healthcare to underprivileged children. The group brought along sleeping bags and cash donation of USD2,500 collected from staff in Singapore to give to the hospital. The funds will be used to fund open heart surgery for an underprivileged child.
On the final day, the volunteers visited Kaliyan Mith, an NGO for vulnerable children. The NGO provides a transitional home to protect and educate the 60 children in their care. At the Education and Vocational Centre, vocational training is conducted to equip these children with a useful skill for employment opportunities.
In general, the feedback received from the volunteers was that it was a satisfying and rewarding, albeit demanding and tiring experience. The main Deutsche coordinator of the trip, Joanna Ang, commented, "It was an eye-opening experience for all of us to experience the different culture and living conditions. And I think we have all taken home with us, that appreciation for what we have."