PHNOM PENH – Our recent visit to Cambodia kicked off in raucous fashion as the Inter Campus kids were presented with the brand-new Nerazzurri jerseys, setting the mood for a fantastic early Christmas party.
Coaches Gabriele Raspelli and Fabio Perfetti and project managers Annalisa Novembre and Omar El Sayed have just returned from their trip to the rural village of Roong, an oasis of tranquillity around an hour and a half’s drive from the chaos of Phnom Penh. The Cambodian capital is changing at breakneck speed, with shopping centres and residential buildings popping up on every corner and luxury SUVs whooshing past. Yet poverty remains a very visible part of city life, one that shows no signs of abating.
Change is afoot in Roong too. There are factories opening nearby, prompting some villagers to leave their work in the paddy fields in the hope of earning a little more money. Life in the village moves at a slow pace, dictating largely by the rice harvest, with the relative silence broken only by the sound of scooters, music from some far-off engagement party and the infectious laughs of the Inter Campus kids as they cycle to school, the Nerazzurri jersey on their backs.
The school – which encompasses both primary and secondary – now has 500 pupils, having been set up by Inter Campus Cambodia’s partner organisation Missione Possibile. The association is led by Gerry Testori and managed on the ground by Jussara Pereira, who had just one tent, one teacher and 30 pupils when the school launched in 2004.
A total of 180 boys and girls between the ages of six and 13 are involved in the Inter Campus project, with the dedicated, passionate instructor Fabricio Reis providing the coaching.
We hope you enjoy Franco Origlia’s photos of the days!