Edinburgh Explorer Scouts to build school in Cambodia

Explorer Scouts learn some building skills before their trip. Picture: contributed

Explorer Scouts learn some building skills before their trip. Picture: contributed

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A BIG-HEARTED group of youngsters will travel to rural Cambodia to build classrooms for a community in need.

The 40-plus Explorer Scouts based in Fairmilehead have launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise money £10,000 towards material costs.

The troop of boys and girls aged from 14 to 18 has been working for the past 18 months to prepare and fundraise for July’s month-long expedition.

The youngsters – who will be joined by 11 adult volunteers from South Morningside Explorer Scout Unit – have been training in bricklaying and woodwork to develop the skills to work alongside local craftsmen.

Volunteer Leader Ross Donald-Hewitt said: “Our Explorer Scouts are raring to go and up for what will be a brilliant adventure.

“As many of the Explorer Scouts prepare for final exams at school, they are also working hard in their spare time to raise the money required for the school building in Cambodia. It shows a great level of commitment and team spirit.”

Explorer Scout Callum Campbell, 17, said: “Before we started preparing I knew very little about constructing buildings. But over the last 18 months we’ve worked with bricklayers and honed our woodwork skills. Now I feel more confident that we’ll be able to achieve our goal. We just need people’s help to raise the money that is needed for the materials.”

The school in the village of Banteay Kabalchin caters for more than 200 pupils who share three small classrooms. But the overcrowded rooms become sweltering in the midday sun, making afternoon lessons very uncomfortable.

And so, as well as building the two new classrooms, the Explorer Scouts will also be renovating the existing classrooms to help reduce the temperature in each room.

The expedition has been organised to encourage the Explorer Scouts to live out their promise of helping others, while also learning from the local people about the life and culture in Cambodia.

During the project the troop will be camping in the grounds of the school, working with the local children, teaching them about life in Scotland, meeting local families and visiting the monks at the nearby Buddhist Pagoda. They are also hopeful that they will meet local Cambodian Scouts.

The team depart on July 1 for their month-long adventure and will be tweeting from @SMESU and using the hashtag #SMESUCambodia.

• Their funding appeal can be found at: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/smesucambodia.