Eshaya Gaffin, Nuriootpa is heading to Cambodia from December 17 till January 27 with the company, Reach Out Volunteers.
Reach Out Volunteers work closely with one village at a time and assist in providing clean water, food, education, sanitation and shelter to deprived communities. They also work with many types of animals that they may have rescued from poachers, zoos or families keeping them as pets.
The 22 year old previously went on a volunteer trip to East Africa in 2015, and the overwhelming success and feeling of accomplishment led Eshaya to want to visit Cambodia, especially as the activities she’d be doing stood out most to her.
While she’s in Cambodia Eshaya will be a part of three different programmes.
The first is called Ultimate Cambodia, where she’ll be working in the village for two weeks to help build homes for families that are not so well off or doing it pretty tough.
She will also be building classrooms for impoverished schools whilst playing sport with the children and teaching English and Health.
The second programme is the Marine Conservation; this is another two week programme where she will be taught to dive and will help build an artificial coral reef.
The third programme is called Elephant Experience. In this programme Eshaya will have the opportunity to work closely with elephants at the Cambodian elephant sanctuary and Thailand elephant sanctuary. Here she will be helping to rehabilitate the elephants that have been rescued from horrible conditions in the illegal logging industry.
One of the highlights for Eshaya will definitely be scuba diving to build an artificial coral reef to rejuvenate the marine population.
For this, the group are based on a tropical island called Koh Rong which was once surrounded by a beautiful coral reef thriving with marine life.
Unfortunately due to illegal fish trawlers and dynamite fishing techniques the coral reef has been destroyed, having a major impact on the community living on the island as it is one of their main food sources.
The role of the volunteers is to make artificial coral pods and dive with the purpose of placing these pods underwater. These pods are then left to stimulate the growth of new coral and provide sustainable and renewable food supply in the marine eco-system.
Eshaya was told by one of the volunteer ambassadors that scientists have started to see marine life in the reef that they hadn’t seen in those parts of the sea for over 50 years.
For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.