Bethanie staff build homes in Cambodia

Sue MacDonald from Singleton and Michelle Shaw from Two Rocks.
Sue MacDonald from Singleton and Michelle Shaw from Two Rocks.

Bethanie Community South Metro support worker Sue MacDonald returned to Cambodia for the second time working with not-for-profit RAW Impact building bamboo homes for the Every Piece Matters project in the Ta Skor and Ko Ki villages. This year, she brought her daughter Samm Ellmers along.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Cambodia in 2018 and 2019 as a member of the Bethanie team.

This year, the highlight of my trip was being able to take my daughter Samm, to help build a home for a family.

To have it completed in three days was a massive task but was easier with the great support from the 21-strong Bethanie group made up of staff and their families, and the Raw team.

The Bethanie team in Cambodia.

We were also able to visit the house that the family were currently living in and this encouraged us all to build the bamboo home rapidly so the family could move into a safer home, something that they could call their own.

Working alongside the family and seeing their enthusiasm and anticipation was awe inspiring, and it was even better to be able to build their home alongside them.

Going back to Cambodia 12 months after my first trip and to see how the village in Ta Skor has come along, they now have 18 homes built with, gardens and they have jobs, are happy and safe and their confidence has grown simply by them knowing they now have their own place.

Another highlight was seeing 72-year-old grandma Seng and visiting her home that the 2018 Bethanie team built, and listening to her story about how she survived the war, the loss of her family, and how she has overcome hurdles since being given a fresh start from Raw Impact.

Shenton Park residents Felicity and Marcel Beaulieu with owners of the new house.

After my first trip in 2018 I came home and spoke to Samm about the people, the culture and the reasons behind the hardship for the Cambodian people.

I knew I wanted Samm to experience how hard it is for so many innocent people over in Cambodia.

Seeing Samm this year, working to build the walls, using nail guns, grinders etc was something I’m very proud of.

Samm and I worked alongside the mother of the house to build the walls, which Samm describes as an amazing experience, having the mum help and contribute to all the hard work in order to complete her own home.