Rossmoyne students build 10 houses for the poor in Cambodia


Aparna Subramaniam, left, Johnson You, science teacher Lisa Smith, maths teacher Matthew Rudland, Christian MacFarlane, Flynn Burns, Risini Senaratne, Ashna Rajendra, Archana Subramaniam and principal Milanna Heberle. Picture: Jon Hewson.
Aparna Subramaniam, left, Johnson You, science teacher Lisa Smith, maths teacher Matthew Rudland, Christian MacFarlane, Flynn Burns, Risini Senaratne, Ashna Rajendra, Archana Subramaniam and principal Milanna Heberle. Picture: Jon Hewson.

A GROUP of eight altruistic Rossmoyne Senior High School students and two teachers have retuned from Cambodia where they built houses while travelling throughout the country.

The 10-day excursion was a unique opportunity for students to be global contributors by participating in a program that promotes sustainability and civic responsibility beyond their classroom experiences.

Touching down in Phonm Penh, the students visited the Choeung Ek Killing Fields – the final destination for prisoners from Tuol Sleng – where a large stupa filled with more than 8000 human skulls acts as a grim reminder of the atrocities.

Toul Sleng was a high school prior to 1975, however when the Khmer Rouge came to power, it was converted into the S-21 prison.

The students then visited the UNESCO world heritage complex at Ta Prohm to learn about the Angkor temples and the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity – where they saw a variety of animals and learnt first-hand about their efforts to save Cambodia’s wildlife.

Their participation in the Tabitha Foundation Building Program yielded 10 homes, a major boon for the group who had spent the weeks leading up to their departure fundraising the $10,000 they needed for the build.

Chaperone and year 8 coordinator Lisa Smith said the students fully immersed themselves in the tour.

“It was a real eye opener for both the students and the staff… I heard a number of the students say ‘we are so lucky’ on numerous occasions,” she said.