In Summary

A group of ten enthusiastic trades’ students from Swinburne University of Technology will fly to Cambodia this evening to start building a sustainability centre in the village of Chumkriel, an important step towards improved sanitation and waste management for the area.

Jonathan Wallace from the Department of Trades & Engineering Technology at Swinburne has been actively involved in organising the global trades program with the support of Cultural Infusion, a non-profit group that promotes intercultural harmony through community programs.

“This is our second trip to Cambodia. Last year, seven carpentry students travelled to the same village to build a community arts centre on land donated by Chumkriel Language School. We’ll be adding the finishing touches to the arts centre on this trip,” Mr Wallace said.

“As we were working on the arts centre last year, we noticed loads of rubbish just being dumped recklessly on the surrounding property and saw this as an opportunity to help clean up the area.

“After talking to the language school about the idea of building a recycling centre next to the arts centre, they were more than happy to hand over the land for this purpose.”

The recycling program will be implemented by the Chumkriel Language School with volunteers from Cultural Infusion.

The global trades program has been funded through the Federal Government’s AsiaBound grant, while the students have also contributed their own money towards the costs.

The program offers students an empowering experience where they are able to put into practice their skills and see first-hand the difference they’re making to local communities in developing countries.

Steven Jeffery was one of the carpentry students who worked on the arts centre in Cambodia last year and has described his experience as life-changing.

“I would give anything for other apprentices to have the same opportunity as I have had, it opened my eyes to world far bigger then my own and it really struck a chord within me to continue these kinds of trips in the future to use my skills and abilities to help others,” Mr Jeffery said.

“Not only was I able to give to the school community but I received back in full from all the smiles on the kids and teachers faces when they saw the works being done.”

A documentary crew followed Mr Jeffery on his journey. Watch the video here: