Bowling for charity

Jessica Winters is holding a fundraiser for the Samaky Foundation, which helps poor villagers in Cambodia. d410830
Jessica Winters is holding a fundraiser for the Samaky Foundation, which helps poor villagers in Cambodia. d410830

After visiting the poverty- stricken village of Samaky last year , the 24-year-old co-founded the Samaky Foundation with her partner Brendon Dhu and will tonight host the foundation’s second major fundraiser, Bowling For Cambodia.

‘I was travelling alone in Cambodia and met a guy who was trying to build a school in Samaky with funds from his own pocket,’ she said.

‘It was really hard, but he did manage to build a very small classroom made of bamboo.

‘I decided I wanted to help because it is a very poverty stricken area, the hygiene is not very good. It is not a place people would wish to live.

‘We wanted to set up English classes because knowing English language can be a powerful tool. Once Cambodians learn it then they can communicate with tourists, which opens up job opportunities.’

In June, 2012 Ms Winters and Mr Dhu launched the foundation, and held the first fundraiser.

‘It was a trial year, it was hard to know if it was going to be successful,’ she said.

‘It was not smooth sailing, there were a lot of teething problems at first, but we have a strong team now who are loyal to the cause.

‘We raised enough funds to last one year, to cover operational costs, pay for teachers and rent.’

She said the foundation aimed to give people in Samaky a boost for their future.

‘We hope to enable them to control their future; we are not interventionists, we would like to help them become self-|sustaining,’ she said.

Juggling university studies in town planning and part-time work as a research officer with her work at the foundation has been hectic, but Ms Winters said her knowledge helped to build the foundation and its projects.

‘I had not planned to do this, this is a little off track from the career I thought I would have, but it is a great avenue,’ she said

Bowling for Cambodia will have live music, markets, face painting, a craft space and jugglers providing entertainment.