Creating Connections

Mar 31

Businesses for Good see the Power of Small

Posted by Jeremy Harris at Monday, March 31, 2014

Recent Trip to Cambodia with B1G1

In early January I was privileged to take part in a Study Tour to Siem Reap, Cambodia and surrounding areas organised by B1G1. B1G1 is an organisation which connects businesses with more than 600 worthy causes around the world. 

As a special bonus, two of our teenagers, Joshua (16) and Jessica (14), were able to accompany me on the tour.

We were a diverse group including Accountants from Queensland and the UK, an accompanying Antiques Dealer from the UK, a Dentist from Aberdeen with accompanying videographer, Health and Allied Health professionals from Perth and Melbourne and an Author/Speaker/Coach from Dubbo with her son. The tour was led by B1G1 Founder Masami Sato, Chairman Paul Dunn and Team Member Hashima Hassim.

                                 

The main aspects of the tour included helping build a playground for over 150 primary schoolchildren, conducting a knowledge workshop for scholarship students and visiting vocational training and community projects.

This Life Cambodia (TLC) supports the development of sustainable communities and it works to improve the quality and access to education in 3 provinces in Cambodia. The name came about as a result of village communities saying what they wished for in the next life. TLC aims to improve this life. Their projects include:

Pedalling Out of Poverty provides a second-hand bicycle and lock to each student. This simple means of transportation can be the key to being able to attend secondary school and continue his or her education, breaking the cycle of poverty. Every adult participant on this study tour contributed one bicycle to a disadvantaged student.

The Light Up A Life With Solar project aims to sustainably increase the capacity of students to study during evening hours after their chores have been completed. The students receive solar lamps or lamp kits which extend light hours in the evening and therefore daily productivity in terms of school work for the child and household activities for the family.

Life Beyond Bars works to support juveniles (14–18 year olds) incarcerated in adult prisons as Cambodia lacks a juvenile justice system. The application of the is arbitrary and those with money or connections tend to avoid prison meaning the prison population largely comprises the poor and vulnerable with the juveniles often the most at risk. In instances children have been detained for petty offences such as stealing a small amount of food. Access to family visits, education and other support needs means that the reoffending rate of these children has been drastically reduced.

A commonly used phrase at many of the projects we visited is “appropriate technology”. This means that an activity can be set up to continue sustainably with obtainable skills and resources if and when the organisation sponsoring it is no longer there. A good example is the bio-sand water filters that are manufactured and installed in a simple but effective way by The Trailblazer Foundation.

The most inspiring of moments that came from this tour were the presentations from students from Pouk High School receiving scholarships through Child’s Dream. Aspiring to be a lawyer, Thoeu aged 19 moved most of the audience to tears with her story, and captivated the hearts of Joshua and Jessica – inspiring them to connect with the students there in various ways, and take action at their own school when they returned home. To view part of Thoeu’s presentation click here.

How does B1G1 work?

The B1G1 vision is that everything we do in business makes a real difference to someone else. A business signs up as a partner to B1G1 to access the giving platform with hundreds of carefully selected high impact projects from around the world. Selecting a project which is meaningful to the business and its products/services can help to build and strengthen connections with customers. The B1G1 system enables a business to keep track of its ongoing impact through its micro-giving activities.

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