image credit: Design For Good SG
Anddd Design For Good is back from Phnom Penh! Other than the great weather and fun Tuk Tuk rides, here are our top 5 things that we would like to share from our travel journal :)
1. Skilled Volunteerism
One of our primary goals this trip was to learn more about skilled volunteerism, and how we can connect the right people to the right place, at the right time.
Besides a willing heart, a pair of skillful hands speak volumes on how we can add value into the lives of others.
Help given in an accurate and timely fashion is akin to an iced glass of fresh water drank under the scorching desert-hot sun.
For our Krafters, there is ample space for skilled volunteerism to take place. One of them is product design to put their braiding, sewing and wood crafting skills into good use. Other than that, skills in their other local budding enterprises like landscaping and cooking are great.
2. A community of hosts
SMILE Village has been a great community of hosts welcoming students from OCIP and YEP programs. A great learning experience, students are in for a fruitful endeavour as they exchange their understanding and knowledge with the residents. In turn, they get to see how changing contexts and environments demand for different factors and needs to be met.
Education is never meant to be confined within the walls of an institution. As the future of work is morphing indefinitely, surely the way we shape our thinking to learn, unlearn and relearn has to go further as well.
3. The dangers of “Ecotourism”
We also noted on some of the potential dangers and cons that “ecotourism” might bring. A loosely defined term, ecotourism can bring in more harm than benefits for local communities. A lack of in-depth understanding might send off the wrong message and a mismatch of ideas and resources.
For example, the practice of guests is of paramount importance. What is their mindset prior coming for the trip? Sometimes it seems like us city people have everything- but do we really? If we have so much to offer those who don’t live the way we do, then what do we have to offer that they don’t already have?
On the state level, many policy makers warn against a superficial giving of foreign aid without sustainable planning. On the individual level, the art of giving propels us to delve in deeper, and challenge ourselves to offer something more that births value and meaning for days to come.
4. Storytelling for SMILE
Another one of our biggest takeaways was also a deeper understanding and update of how our Krafters are doing at SMILE Village. Armed with a hearing heart, helpful translators and a bunch of equipment, we set off to capture more creative assets for us to tell their stories through their lenses.
Similar to our previous trip, we got a couple of good shots and clips this trip, and the conversations we had with our Krafters and the team at SMILE have realigned our perspectives and grit for the coming seasons.
Last but not the least, we took this chance to show our appreciation for our Krafters as well. It is not an easy task to discuss and check on ideas consistently for the past six months, and we often had to spend time clarifying the orders of our customers, details and product codes to facilitate a successful delivery. Everyone knows that Rome is not built in a day, and we are truly thankful for the team’s patience and grace shown to us all these while.
Moving forward, we see ourselves reaching out to new markets to open up new learning opportunities for our Krafters to turn the skills they have into sustainable businesses of their own. It is a tough calling to remove poverty from the heart, mind and hands, but there is so much potential to change lives, mindsets and hearts for the better, together.