We were in Siem Reap, Cambodia. And we were on our way to open a school.
We left Siem Reap early in the morning for the longest drive through construction sites, potholes, twists and turns that kept us all on the edge of our seats.
But it wasn’t just the crazy road that had us all alert and excited. We had been looking forward to this day for months now. From the moment that we had agreed to join an NGO called Child’s Dream in building a school for over 350 children.
With our school supplies and goodies that we had gathered for the school at the back of our minivan taxi, and our bellies full with delicious Cambodian food, we did not expect to see all of these children, plus their parents, village elders and military personnel waiting for us when we arrived.
And yet they were all there, ready to overwhelm us with their love and gratitude.
The school had prepared an opening ceremony which was blessed by Buddhist monks to banish away any evil spirits from the area and bring luck and prosperity to each of the staff and pupils that would attend lessons there.
After the ceremony, the Minister of Education for the Battambang Province, a representative from the Child’s Dream organization and one of the donators that is very close to us addressed the audience of aspiring students, their parents and village supporters.
We were treated to a traditional Khmer dance that was accompanied by the beautiful singing of a young Cambodian woman whose voice still echoes in our ears today. After the dance, and still in a whirlwind of sensory overloading, we cut the ribbon and officially opened the school building to the public.
Once the ceremony was over, everything went very fast. Children made their way home, the Buddhist decorations were dismantled, new chairs and tables were put up and food and drinks were brought out for everyone to share around large round tables. There was laughing, dancing, and happiness all round as we imagined the future of the new school together with the community that would use it.
It is difficult to portray how we felt that day, and our highlight of the day was even more fulfilling: We handed over a backpack with school supplies to every single child watching how grateful and enthusiastic they were to learn holding on to the new backpack they have just received. The donation of these backpacks and the stationary supplies was made possible by you and your contribution. The collection of all small amounts that were rounded up for donation through your orders contributed to this gift. We realized once more how much of a difference a small gesture can make.
In telling you this, we would like to give you the warmest thanks for all of the help you sent through to us. And so, we want you to know how grateful we are for your support and loyalty to our mission to create sustainable fashion, because with your help, we were able to share the rewards of our hard work with people who deserve it. We are so proud to have such an amazing support base.
We are also eternally grateful to the Child’s Dream organization for all of their hard work and determination to create empowering spaces for marginalized and disadvantaged communities across Asia. Please go and check out their website to learn more about this organization which has built over 300 schools over the past 15 years.
We are still overwhelmed; our hearts are full of joy and pride. And we cannot thank everyone who was involved in this project enough. Together we can make the world a better place, think about it.