Volunteering in my gap year is an experience I treasure

Back in January 2020, Rebecca Maxwell travelled to Cambodia with the Step into the Gap programme. A year on, she looks back on why volunteering with CAFOD during her gap year was so inspiring.

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Step into the Gap 2020: Work hard, farm harder

Orla Tanner, a CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteer, writes about how CAFOD’s partners in Cambodia, COCD, are helping to educate families to help improve the whole community.

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Step into the Gap 2020: Postcard from the Countryside – Part II

In part two of Francis Romano’s report from Cambodia, the Step into the Gap volunteer explains how CAFOD’s partner CODC is working with farmers to update traditional farming techniques to improve lives and communities.

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Step into the Gap 2020: Postcard from the countryside – Part I

Francis Romano is a Step into the Gap volunteer, currently in Cambodia meeting some of the communities that CAFOD works alongside. Here, in part one of two, he explains the realities of rural farming and how CAFOD’s partner COCD is investing in training for a better future.

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Step into the Gap 2020: What have we been up to so far?

Rebecca Maxwell, a Step into the Gap volunteer based at Castlerigg in the Lake District, has recently travelled to Cambodia to meet some of the communities that CAFOD works alongside. Here she explains what has happened so far on her trip.

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Step into the Gap: How Cambodia changed me

Rod travelled to Cambodia with the Step into the Gap programme to meet CAFOD partners and the communities they work with.  One year on from his trip, Rod reflects on what it all meant to him.

Rod was a part of our gap year programme.
Rod reflects on his trip to Cambodia with CAFOD.

The way in which Cambodia changed me seems to come into view and then fall out again, oscillating in the busyness of life. When I was speaking to people about my trip to Cambodia almost every day, when it was my life, the changes it had made to me were more obvious. Now, to a certain extent they have become more blurred, because I am not thinking about the trip so much. But they are also clearer because I am able to look back at how it changed me from a distance.

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Defending Indigenous People’s Rights in Cambodia

Today marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. CAFOD’s Programme Officer in Cambodia, Sorphoarn Sok meets indigenous land activist Hean Heak to find out more about how he is helping his indigenous community stand up for their rights in Cambodia and defend their land from land grabs by large companies.

Activist Hean Heak is from Ngorn, a remote village in Kampong Thom province in central Cambodia which is home to the Kuoy Indigenous Peoples.

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Step into the Gap: The power of an encounter

As Lent comes to an end, Step into the Gap volunteer, Charlotte Bray, who is currently volunteering at Newman Chaplaincy, reflects on her recent trip to Cambodia and how this has inspired her Lent challenge.

Charlotte, who is taking part in Step into the Gap, meeting Cambodian communities.
Charlotte, who is taking part in Step into the Gap, meeting Cambodian communities.

When I travelled to Cambodia, as part of the Step into the Gap programme, I went with the expectation that I would meet some incredible people. I never realised that the encounters I had would have such a transformative effect on my life.

While I was in Cambodia, I had the pleasure of meeting an incredibly strong and resilient woman called Suong, she taught me a profound lesson that has changed the way I view the world.

There is still time to apply to Step into the Gap

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Step into the Gap: Thank you for wanting to help the Khmer people

During her visit to Cambodia, Lizzie Haydon, who is taking part in the Step into the Gap programme, spent time with a Cambodian community and spoke to a family, who have worked with CAFOD partner Srer Khmer, to receive training and resources.

Lizzie talks to Samorn about life in the community as she weaves traditional fish traps.
Lizzie talks to Samorn about life in the community as she weaves traditional fish traps.

During our second week in Cambodia, we visited rural communities supported by CAFOD partner Srer Khmer. One of the communities Srer Khmer work with is Lvear village in Pouk district, Siem Reap and we were honoured to be able to spend the night in the village, getting to know the villagers and understand their lives that little bit better.

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Step into the Gap: Working together to weave change in Cambodian communities

James Ronan, who is currently taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap, talks about the village communities he spent time with in Cambodia where local organisations are empowering communities to change their lives for the better.

Step into the Gap volunteers walking through now flourishing fields
Step into the Gap volunteers walking through now flourishing fields

Cambodia’s long history, most recently the civil war and the Khmer Rouge regime, has “left many communities broken”, said Singha, one of the founding members of CAFOD partners, Village Support Group (VSG).

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