CAMBODIA: THE PHILANTHROPIC IMMERSION OF THE BOARDING HOUSE
United by the warm yet resilient spirit of the Champittet boarding house, in October 2019, a group of 17 students and 3 members of staff led by Yannick Muzenga, the deputy director of boarding, headed to the other side of the globe to discover its treasures and, with no exaggeration, open new horizons of one’s abilities. All the participants of the Cambodia trip may well use these expressions in their literal sense, as the picturesque landscapes and fascinating landmarks they have seen are more than likely to stay in their memory for years. But not only! The concept of the trip was based on the long-term cooperation of the College Champittet Foundation and “1001Fontaines” association, which gave our students a unique opportunity of combining the well-deserved leisure with full self-investment to help those who are less fortunate.
When the school itself aims to grow the leaders of tomorrow, it perfectly correlates with one of the College Champittet Foundation’s main objectives: to make these leaders caring, altruistic, sensible and open to the world. The 310 hours spent in total by the boarders during the humanitarian activities in Cambodia was doubtlessly a huge step towards this target. However, this trip is by far not just about the numbers: the joy and the aspiration of making our planet a better place brought by the students upon their return has exceeded all possible expectations, and the key part of such a success are the emotional ties which were established.
“The best thing about Cambodia was the wonderful group of children that were eager to play with us and get to know us. What most impacted me was the community and the different rules that their culture follows and how regardless of others’ beliefs, they accept you and welcome you with an open heart” – says Lourdes A, who’s contribution was highly valued by the trip supervisors.
Multicultural human interactions are definitely the highlight of such trips which Kelly Moutsokapa, the graduate assistant of the boarding house, calls “eyeopening”. Not only they strengthen the values which have already been embraced by our boarders, but also give a new perspective of how the quality of life could be different and how meaningful it is to provide your hand of support. Over 400 local children have joined the movement of cleaning the area from polluting waste and took the positive example of ‘Champitans’ on personal hygiene and responsible water use. The cheerful atmosphere was further stimulated by collective games and amusing activities. “We loved it!” – simply declares Elodie Rochaix, one of the tutors who went on the trip. Without minding each other’s country of origin, age or social status, this special and touching moment was shared by all the players. Isn’t it exactly what John Lennon wanted us to “Imagine” and achieve on Earth a couple of decades ago?
The symbolism of the trip was, of course, embedded in the mural painting made by our amazing team on one of the school walls, which was a challenging but exciting process, through which everyone was able to demonstrate a positive and responsible approach. Inspired by the creative ideas of our students, it will, along with the emotions and life lessons received in this journey, decorate the routine of Cambodian kids and stay in the hearts of each participant.
Student representative of the College Champittet Foundation