Charity focused on getting slum children into school
NICOLA and Graeme Winthrop are about to go on an extraordinary Cambodian adventure with their five children.
The Onehunga residents consider themselves fairly typical. But after a holiday to Cambodia earlier this year they have decided to pack up their lives and move to the South-East Asian nation.
The Winthrops were on holiday in Cambodia with their three youngest chil- dren, Josh, 14, Nadia, 10 and Theo, 7, and had the opportunity to visit a charity, the Bong Paoun Project.
The charity invited Graeme to be its director and the family decided to take the plunge.
‘‘The charity is a project working with slum-dwelling children.
‘‘These primary-aged kids beg, sift through garbage, or are sold for their families just to scrape by.
‘‘The project helps get the poorest of these children into school, and connects with the families helping them to find some way out of their dire circumstances, basically breaking the cycle of poverty,’’ Nicola says.
She says the charity does a lot more than getting children into school.
‘‘It is about giving them a future, helping their families find a way out of poverty and changing a generation in a country which has been ravaged by war.’’
Nicola, a personal trainer, and Graeme, an electrical engineer, say what they are doing may sound crazy to some but they do have some idea about what they are getting into.
‘‘We have worked, among other things, with the rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking, illiterate migrants and prostitutes before.
‘‘It has been over a 12-year span in China, Vietnam and Laos.’’
The Winthrop children will be attending an international school in Cambodia. Nicola says her children are sad to be leaving their friends in New Zealand but are excited to help at the Bong Paoun Project.
They are not taking all of their household possessions with them – only a few things of sentimental value.
The family leaves in five weeks and is holding a fundraising event on July 2 to raise money for the move and the charity.
The Winthrops will be auctioning donated items from local businesses. The project helps get the poorest of these children into school, and connects with the families, helping them to find some way out of their dire circumstances, basically breaking the cycle of poverty