Mission: 19 homes in just nine days

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Camera IconCredit: SUPPLIED, Supplied.

Two South West residents have returned from a nine-day mission in Cambodia, where they helped to build almost 20 bamboo houses for villagers.

Brittany Branchi, a registered nurse at Bethanie Elanora, decided to go on the work-backed mission after she received an email calling for expressions of interest from volunteer staff.

“I have always had a desire to help others in need and I was given the opportunity to take a family member,” she said.

“My mother, who is my biggest inspiration, has always wanted to volunteer, which helped me to decide we had to go.”

Mrs Branchi and her mother Jodie Gardwood were joined by 19 other Bethanie staff and family and worked as part of a RAW Impact project, designed to provide safe housing for 123 poverty-stricken families.

After helping to build 19 bamboo homes in Ta Skor, the group then planted 100 bamboo plants in the Ko Ki Village to be used for future builds.

“The experience was more than we could ever have imagined. We learnt about the history of Cambodia and were encouraged to interact with the Khmer people and their families,” Mrs Branchi said.

“This journey gave us the deepest sense of appreciation.”

The group was led on its mission by Bethanie Mission manager David van Leen, who said the team was excited to give back and worked hard to raise money to help.

Attendees covered their costs for the trip, costs which added up to about $4000 in Mrs Branchi’s case, as well as raised a minimum of $1000 to put towards resources for the RAW Impact project.

“I’m proud of the Bethanie team that gave all of themselves into the projects and made a difference to the lives of many people suffering real poverty,” Bethanie chief executive officer Chris How said.

Since returning from the trip, Mrs Branchi has raved about her experience to almost everyone she has spoken to and described it as “the experience of a lifetime.”

“The people of Cambodia that we were there for have nothing, although they still smile,” she said.

“The family that we handed the house to were so grateful, yet we were grateful to have the opportunity to help and to contribute towards a better future for them.

“I look forward to doing it all again, it is the deepest sense of appreciation anyone could feel.”

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