In Summary

Seven carpentry students from Swinburne University of Technology head to Cambodia this weekend where they will build a community arts centre – helping local people and gaining unique experience at the same time.

The students, studying at Swinburne’s Croydon campus, fly out on Saturday for their two week study tour.

The study tour has been funded through an AsiaBound grant from the federal government, while the students, from Maroondah, Lilydale and Knox, have also contributed their own money towards the costs.

The students have received additional support by Mayibuye Cambodia, a non-profit group that provides access to arts programs for young people in rural Cambodia and the Cambodian Broadcast Network, as well as other sponsors.

Over $20,000 has been raised, including proceeds from the project’s major fundraising event, the Rebuild Cambodia Gala Dinner, held at Murrumbeena Pavilion on Saturday 15 February.

“We would like to thank everyone who attended the gala dinner; the evening was a great success. Our target of $22,000 for building materials has almost been reached thanks to both corporate and public donations,” Swinburne carpentry teacher Jon Wallace said.

“I’m really looking forward to the trip and I hope to gain a lot more knowledge about Cambodia’s history,” Swinburne carpentry student Leigh Rice said.

Swinburne’s Vice-President (International and Future Students), Jeffrey Smart said Swinburne is committed to providing students with international study opportunities.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of members of the local community, industry partners and our alumni who have donated funds to support the project,” Mr Smart said.

“It's gratifying to see the commitment of the students and staff as they embark on a fundraising program which will deliver an even greater impact on the lives of the Cambodian community.” 

The community centre will provide a much-needed arts program to over 1000 families in Kampot Province.

A documentary team from the Cambodian Broadcasting Network in Melbourne will follow the project. The apprentices have participated in pre-departure interviews and have also been filmed at Hard Yakka where they were fitted out with clothes for the trip.