Monday, 19 May 2014

Students change lives at Green Gecko

Students from the SSTO's Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management programmes have raised £4,700 for an Asian children's charity.

As part of their final year module ‘Management Development,’ students organised a series of events ahead of a life-changing trip to Cambodia to visit the Green Gecko Project - a school for disadvantaged children.

The trip helps students enhance their learning in a developing country, whilst also gaining personal and professional skills by volunteering at Green Gecko. Students arrived on the first day of Cambodian New Year and celebrated a traditional Songkran Festival in the grounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat.

Celebrations continued for three days across the country and students participated spontaneously with traditional dance and games, which helped break down any cross-cultural barriers. The group continued to experience the rich culture and diversity Cambodia has to offer by visiting various tourist attractions including the Temples of Angkor, TonleSap, and Kulen Mountain National Park.

The second week began with an induction day before the students volunteered to teach six classes daily. Module leader Peter McGrath praised their efforts: "Before they arrived the group had no teaching experience, so this was a tough test in which they all excelled.

"The lessons they delivered were both educational and fun and this was clear by the Gecko childrens’ excitement and enthusiasm throughout the week."

Senior Lecturer Mac McCarthy added: "Now the students have been to the Green Gecko Project they appear to have a renewed zest for life that embraces real values, rather than just the desire for a well-paid career."

This year's total takes the overall amount raised by SSTO students to over £38,000 – cementing the SSTO's commitment to make a difference through education.

Event Management student Luciana Capaldi said the trip had changed her outlook on life: "I'm the same person I was when I left, but with different values and prospects for life. One day I will strive to be part of a similar project to the Green Gecko."

A selection of images from the trip can be viewed here.

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