Taking the spirit of giving to Cambodia

While many school kids will be enjoying their Christmas holidays at the beach or shopping, Melanie Eedens will be doing something very different.

She will be handing out gifts to underprivileged students in Cambodia, collected with the help of her fellow students at Strathfield Girls High School.

Melanie, whose mother is Cambodian, will be visiting the region and delivering the gifts to about 500 primary-aged school students.

She started a collection box at the school with the help of friends and the blessing of her teachers.

Now, it is nearly full and will aid a number of underprivileged students.

With her mum’s help, Melanie chose two schools to donate  stationery to.

“I think we’re staying at a place called Takéo with my family. My mum picked the schools and they are very local to where we are staying. When we were planning the trip, Mum suggested we do something to help,” said Melanie.

“I didn’t plan on bringing the idea to school. I just asked some friends to bring unused or unwanted  stationery and now it has grown to be bigger than I ever thought it could.”

The project, called AusToCambodia, has an Instagram page so people can follow Melanie’s adventure.

Melanie and her mum have collected pens, pencils, sharpeners, coloured pencils, textas, crayons and books, which they will be packaging when they get to Cambodia.

“We’re aiming on trying to make as many packages to provide for nearly the whole school. If there is not enough, then we will give them to the kindergarten children because they are just starting their education.

“It’s important they have the right equipment to do their work,” she said.

Melanie said 10 of her friends have also volunteered to help her. And she hopes to continue her charity after the trip.

“My mum said if we are going to help schools, we should get the school involved. I spoke to some teachers and they agreed with the idea.

“I feel so happy about the project,” she said.

“Even though it’s been rushed, it’s working out so well.”

Melanie is encouraging Strathfield residents who would like to help to drop  stationery donations at the front office of Strathfield Girls High School.


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