At Human and Hope Association we do not accept international volunteers, instead focusing on capacity building local staff so they can run the organisation. We want to show our staff and community that Khmers DO have the attitude, knowledge and skills to build their community, which is why the only volunteers we accept are Cambodians who can capacity build our team. Last month Pollah Howe volunteered in our sewing program, teaching our staff and students about children’s clothing in order to improve their skills and create a clothing line for our business. This is her story.
My name is Pollah Howe; I was born in Chrey village, Sambour commune, Siem Reap province, Cambodia. I am a middle child with a family of 1 brother and 4 sisters. Growing up in a family that believe in education can give a brighter future is a blessing. I am a village girl who has big dream and always drive myself to reach that goal. I am one of the lucky child who lucky enough to find brighter education in Australia. In 2007, I have got married to an Australian man and we decided to move back to Australia so I could continue my study here.
My life was starting from the zero again with new language and new different culture. I have found myself in the middle of nowhere and trying to look through my new future. I have attending English class to improving my English, at the same time I have also study hospitality and many of other outreach courses at Wyong Tafe. In 2009 my husband and I were leaving to Solomon Islands and I found myself studying accountant through OTEN. In 2011 we returned to Australia and I was then able to study “Fashion Design “at Newcastle Tafe. I then move to Canberra in 2012 and keep continuing my studying on Fashion Design course at Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). In 2014 I graduated for my Bachelor Degree of Fashion Design.
In March, 2015 while I was visiting my family, I decided to give back to my community by volunteer as a fashion design trainer at Human and Hope Association. In the last two and half weeks, I was teaching sewing class students to be able to design and making children wear for western market. Unfortunately I have very short and not able to cover with all the lessons I had preparing for the sewing class, but the outcome that I have received from these students was greater than anything that I could ever count for is the friendship. I can say that I am lucky to be able to work among many different talented ladies who drive themselves to a brighter future. These students have inspired me to work even harder to help them archive their dream. They made me got up every morning with a smile to teach every day.
Meanwhile the support from HHA’s team was very caring and professional. Being part of this great team is an inspiring. They are showing that Cambodian can make a different to Cambodian community through education.
Last of all, I just want to many thanks to Human and Hope Association and all team members for giving me an opportunity to be able to give back to my community. I also want thanks to the sewing teachers team that have help my through with all sort of challenges. All yours hard works will always remember from our Cambodian community.