Because One Visit to LKC Just Isn't Enough

LKC students admiring the artwork.

Natalie Vibhagool is a high school student from Oregon, USA. She visited our preschool over the summer and recounts the lasting impression that the trip left within her; so much so that she graciously set up a fundraiser for Senhoa through auctioning off the LKC students’ artwork in her hometown of Bangkok, Thailand.

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I signed up for my high school’s service trip to Cambodia without knowing that it would change my life. Julie, one of the adult leaders in the group, had spent her time in Cambodia before and decided to take a group of students back with her. The trip was around ten days long -- we began our journey in Phnom Penh, traveled to Kampong Thom and ended in Siem Reap.

Natalie's mother painting the regions of Cambodia.

Along the trip, we interacted with local people and learned about the Cambodian culture and their daily lives. Language was not much of a barrier as I expected as my knowledge of the Thai language helped me pick up words along the way. But no community was like the community of the Lotus Kids’ Club (LKC) in Siem Reap. The kids were enthusiastic and cheerful. From my very first moment at LKC, I could see joy on the children’s faces as they became so inquisitive of my visit and they explored details of my life and journey.

A colorful map of Cambodia, hand painted by Natalie's mother.

Over the few days that I spent time at LKC, I learned the staffs’ true eagerness to help and improve the community. They work hard to set the right environment for the kids and to support the families. Since then, I established a simple goal that I would help the LKC program at Senhoa in any way that I can.

Our LKC teacher with the Vibhagool Family.

During the past summer, when my family decided to visit Siem Reap, I did not hesitant to return to LKC. I was happy to see the new playground and facilities at the school. Also when I returned this time, I decided to create a small fundraising project to help the organization; I collected the kids’ artwork and later displayed them in a gallery exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand with all proceeds of the event going to LKC to further support their development.

Lotus Kids’ Club addresses the social problems by aiming not only to educate the kids, but also to support their families. It was extremely rewarding to see these children grow and explore new ideas since my first visit. I feel very fortunate to work with a foundation that cares deeply about the kids, and also to be a part of these children’s and their families’ journeys.

October 03, 2014 by Lisa T.D. Nguyen
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