May was an excellent month for us here in Banteay Chhmar. The CBT was very pleased to welcome Operation Groundswell (OG) to our community. This youth-orientated tour company specializes in learning experiences and helping in the communities they visit. They genuinely aim to offer meaningful and unique travel and life experiences. Beforehand, participants are required do some fundraising for each project they visit. We are certainly glad they visited us and contributed to helping our villagers in so many ways.
First, the OG group helped with rebuilding some of the poorest houses in Banteay Chhmar. While Banteay Chhmar certainly is not the poorest of communes in Cambodia, there are definitely some families living in less than desirable homes. Three houses were selected in different villages and their thatch roofs were replaced along with some walls.
Through Operation Groundswell’s inspiration, the CBT will be working on adding this type of project to its tour itinerary The idea will be a “Helping Hand” tour where visitors can donate some funds and spend their time helping on a village project. It may be a house repair, preparing land for a garden or some other community project. We expect most projects to be less than $100. Stay in touch with us for more information in the coming months about this new tour and activity.
Additionally, OG donated $1,000 to the purchase of 20 ceramic water filters for villagers. The villagers also attended a training session for the filters during the OG visit. These filters are an easy, cost-effective and very reliable means of producing 20 to 30 liters of clean water every day for a family. This is enough water to cover basic necessities such as cooking, drinking, cleaning food and brushing teeth. The CBT members will be responsible for following up with the families monthly and collecting some basic information on usage and water-related diseases. Each household will pay $1.50 per month for the filter. This fee will go towards monitoring the project, further hygiene training, and helping to pay the CBT’s operating expenses.
We believe that this pilot project will be successful and hope to expand the project through donations from our visitors. If anyone is interested in purchasing a large quantity of filters, tax-deductible donations can be made through Global Heritage Fund (clearly indicating what the donation is to be used for). Please contact Tath Sophal or Andrew Marino for more information. Thanks.
Finally, the best part of having Operation Groundswell visit us was there genuine interest in the community and learning about the livelihoods, the village and temple history. It is always great to have a group like this visit. Thanks again!
Please view a slideshow of the Operation Groundswell visit.
On Sunday, May 26th we had a visit from the Baray Reach Dak community-based tourism group. This site is located inside the Angkor Archaeological Park and offers walking and boat tours through the village and forest surrounding the baray. The project is supported by the APSARA National Authority and the Australian government.. The group came to learn and share ideas about conducting community-type tours. We hope that you will have time to visit them on your trip to Siem Reap. You can contact them directly at (+855) 097 9501 423 for reservations.