The Southern Mitchell Rotary Club hosted an 'unevent' online this year to raise money for the Prey Dong School in Kandall Province, Cambodia.

The Southern Mitchell Rotary Club has for several years supported the Prey Dong School in Kandall Province, Cambodia.

Money is raised for specific building projects, vital recreation areas and to support the school’s teachers, pupils and families with much-needed assistance.

Due to the pandemic, the Rotary club’s usual fundraiser, an international dinner, had to be cancelled in 2020.

However, this year, the club’s international coordinator Marie Gerrard decided to do something to honour Rotary’s commitment to the Cambodians, and host an ‘unevent’ with great success.

The ‘UNternational LUNcheon’ was held via Zoom on October 17, along with a silent auction. Those attending shared a meal, eaten separately in their own homes.

Surprisingly almost twice as much money was raised compared to the club’s usual dinner. Donations of money and items were made by members, and their family and friends.

Rotary Club president Steve Ansell said the club particularly appreciated the financial and in-kind donations made by local businesses and community members.

“Your generosity will make a profound difference to the lives and futures of these cherished children, their families, and to their education which we all know really is ‘the silver bullet’, which helps us rise above our circumstances and build a better future,” he said.

The Prey Dong school accommodates about 200 students.

Several Australian Rotary Clubs work together to provide ongoing support for the students to learn English and IT skills, aimed at providing a real advantage when seeking employment.

School buildings are now complete, and soon Rotary hope to install solar in the school, redirecting electricity costs toward education.

The school was functioning well until the pandemic and Cambodia continues to suffer gravely from the human and economic impact.

In Kandall Province, where the school is situated, pollution has caused their soil and water to reach near-lethal toxicity, therefore food staples and water must be purchased, rather than crops grown.

In addition, the pandemic prevents families from earning even a small income to meet basic food needs, adding further difficulty.

To learn more about the project or Rotary, contact Steve at stephen.ansell1@bigpond.com or Marie on 0419 194 872 or mariegrrrd@gmail.com.

To make a donation, with 100 per cent going to the Cambodian school, via electronic banking, the details are: Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell; BSB: 633000; Account number: 155 316 169; description: Cambodia.

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