2007.01.31: January 31, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Mercury News: Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Peace Corps Cambodia: Newest Stories: 2007.01.31: January 31, 2007: Headlines: COS - Cambodia: Mercury News: Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-249-83-39.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 70.249.83.39) on Saturday, March 17, 2007 - 1:47 pm: Edit Post

Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

The program was launched at the invitation of the Cambodian government, which was interested in volunteers who could teach English and support local instructors. "English is essential," said Meng Eang Nay, of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C. "It's important for people to find jobs, particularly in the private sector." The volunteers will also increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, and hopefully branch out into other areas of need, like agricultural infrastructure development, he said.

Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

Group kicks off first Peace Corps program in Cambodia

JULIANA BARBASSA
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Thirty young Peace Corps volunteers headed to Cambodia Wednesday, marking the 45-year-old service organization's first program in the rapidly growing country.

The program was launched at the invitation of the Cambodian government, which was interested in volunteers who could teach English and support local instructors.

"English is essential," said Meng Eang Nay, of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C. "It's important for people to find jobs, particularly in the private sector."

The volunteers will also increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, and hopefully branch out into other areas of need, like agricultural infrastructure development, he said.

Cambodia was listed as one of 12 "hunger hot spots" where the situation was "extremely alarming" in the 2006 Global Hunger Index of the International Food Policy Research Institute. The United Nations' World Food Program appealed for $10 million earlier this month to distribute food to about 1.1 million Cambodians in need.

Following an initial cultural training period, the recent college graduates will fan out into the Cambodian countryside and provincial towns, where they will live with host families, said Nathan Hale Sargent, spokesman for the Peace Corps in San Francisco.

Waiting to board their flight from San Francisco to Phnom Pen, some volunteers said they were aware of the comforts they were leaving behind.

"I took a hot shower this morning and knew it would be the last time in a while," said Jason Park, 22, from Totowa, N.J.

The volunteers said they were also cognizant of the added responsibility that comes with being the first Peace Corps delegation to set up shop in a new country.

"There's a bit of trepidation because we're not sure exactly what to expect," Park said. "But there's a lot of excitement, and anticipation that's been building up for months."

Some began learning Khmer in preparation for their trip. Emi Caitlin Ishigooka, from Long Beach, reached out to the area's large Cambodian community to find a tutor.

Kara and Sam Snyder, a married couple from Rochester, N.Y., also learned the basic of the language before emabrking on the 27-month commitment.

"Were feeling a lot of pressure since we'll be the first group there," said Kara Snyder, 22.

The volunteers join a large body of Peace Corps workers worldwide. Cambodia is the 139th country to partner with the Peace Corps, and the service organization has about 7500 volunteers currently serving in 73 countries. The last country added before Cambodia was Mexico, in 2004.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: January, 2007; Peace Corps Cambodia; Directory of Cambodia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Cambodia RPCVs





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Story Source: Mercury News

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