Farrer students head to Cambodia to build houses in poverty-striken community

GIVING BACK: Hamish McLaren, Peter Urquhart and Mitch Roworth have decided to donate their holidays to build a house in Cambodia. Photo: Gareth Gardner 281117GGB01
GIVING BACK: Hamish McLaren, Peter Urquhart and Mitch Roworth have decided to donate their holidays to build a house in Cambodia. Photo: Gareth Gardner 281117GGB01

THEIR mates may be living it up at schoolies, but these Farrer boys will be singing from a different hymn-sheet when to they bid adieu to their schooling years.

Their HSCs are done and dusted, but the work’s far from over for seven Farrer students whose volunteering trip to Asia will be far from a holiday in Cambodia.

On Saturday, Caelan Kaluder, Mitchell Roworth, Jacob Church, Sean Campbell, Loxton Kallis, Peter Urquhart and Hamish McLaren jetted-off for Cambodia where they’ll help build a house for a family living in poverty.

The boys were inspired to sign up following a presentation by the Asia Pacific Youth Foundation (APYF) earlier this year and they’ll spend a week building a “peace house” with Buddhist monks.

Students jetting off

Students jetting off

It was the opportunity to something more constructive than “spending a heap of money on going up to the Gold Coast” which they jumped at.

“We get there and we build a peace house for farmers … their house gets ruined in the wet season,” Hamish said.

Some of the boys have never been overseas, let alone built a house, and once they wipe the sweat from their brow, Hamish thinks the experience will give them a new perspective.

“I’ve never done anything like it before, I’ve done just general farm work and work you do from day-to-day but nothing like this,” he said.

“Just seeing, as a country, it’s so much easier, we’re so much more wealth, we can build a nice house and not have to worry about it.

“Over there, they can’t afford to have a house that doesn’t get ruined whenever it rains.”

Over the last 18 months the school community has been raising funds for the project with all money raised going directly into the project.

Hamish said they’ve raised about $4000.

The APYF project, with a focus on “youth helping youth”, will support a local family to break the poverty cycle, develop sustainable practices and support educational opportunities for a Cambodian family.

As well as the charity house-building project, the group will visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World Angkor Wat Temple.

The boys will also immerse themselves in Cambodian culture enjoying Phare the Cambodian Circus Show, Angkor National Museum and visiting local fishing villages on Tonle Sap Lake.