Earlier this year, on April 1st, 2021, the Cambodian government put Phnom Penh and Takhmau Cities in curfew and then locked down the whole city of Phnom Penh, Takhmau, and some other cities most infected with COVID-19. The lockdown caused a lot of stress and undue pressure on our students as they were forced to stay home all day long, coupled with the overwhelming boredom of online classes that they must attend. Staying home may sound like a mix of rest and boredom for most people, but for Cambodians, especially for our students, being stuck at home in a 30 square meter apartment with many other siblings and not having enough food to eat is just a miserable experience.
There were over 170 youths involved in Dove’s program every week before this recent spike. There are still three growth groups meeting weekly on Zoom: Leadership Club, Men Group, and Al-Teen. Volunteer teacher training is done online too. All 6 English classes, two computer classes, a counseling program, Art class, a Reading Club, Drop-in Center are temporarily closed until we hear from the government letting us know it is ok for us to meet again. It appears that this will not be too soon, maybe later this year, or even next year.
When a student shared in one of our Growth Group Zoom meetings about his situation, he burst out tears. His classmates comforted him and they cried together.
Meet Our Student
Greeting! My name is Phearun. I am 21 years old. I have two brothers and I am also in year fourth of Western University. I am working in one of the coffee shops in my area. My working time from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM. After leaving my work I like to hang out with friends talking, playing a sport, and playing guitar. One of the places that I want to say is the YESIC center. It is a safe place and is the place to spend my spare time learning new things. I can talk with teachers over there. I get some good advice for my life. I would say it is safe and sound for me. I also attend the short seminar organized by MISSION DOVE: Leadership Club, Al-Teen and Men group. My attitude, mindset, living style, and creativity are changed through those seminars. Especially my mental health is good. I met a lot of people who are good-hearted and matured. Their heart full love and sharing make me feel secured to come here, in YESIC and I feel like home to come to YESIC. I get to know YESIC through my friend in my school. I have come to YESIC since I was 13 years old until now, I am 21 years old. I learn a lot from here and I used to be a volunteer in YESIC of Mission Dove Cambodia. I used to visit the poor people in slum areas. I used to teach my life my story to those who come to YESIC. I also help teach guitar to student who comes to YESIC because I gain my knowledge from YESIC so I decide to share what I have from YESIC with my friend and the people I know. I want them to know what I learned from YESIC.
Finally, I want to see DOVE still continue to have some more new classes for the next generation and also for those who come to YESIC to play some sport and learn the useful thing for their lives. This place is a safe place full of love and sharing of their mental health, experiential learning, and gets the inner healing. That is all I want to say. I just share the experience I have with DOVE to you all, thank you.
Attached are some photos of our project.