The Cambodian Pilgrimage is an opportunity for a small group of Year 11 students to become immersed in situations that enhance their perspectives of justice, charity and compassion, while enhancing the English speaking and writing skills of young Cambodians.
Since 1970 Cambodia has been a country devastated by social, political, civil and military turmoil. From 1975 through to 1979 Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot attempted to form a Communist peasant farming society which resulted in the death of two million (25%) of the country's population from starvation, overwork and execution.
With 25% of its population gone, combined with the demise of Pol Pot in 1979, political, social and economic upheaval continued through to the 1990s.
As a result, the Cambodians have been struggling to reconstruct essential elements of their society over the last 20 years, particularly the education system.
The primary focus of the Cambodian Pilgrimage is on giving service and working with students and teachers in a variety of settings in Battambang. Several days are devoted to working with Cambodian teachers, students and children who are supported by the Providence Sister, under the guidance of Sister Cecile.
St Mary's College staff and students make school visitations; spending time with approximately 85 academically capable students aged from 6 years to 20 years of age; conduct English workshops with Battambang teachers as well as visit nearby villages where educational quality and facilities are significantly inferior and quite primitive.
Battambang is the capital city of Battambang Province in north western Cambodia. The city is situated on the Sankae River, with a great deal of French colonial architecture. It has a population of approximately 200 000.
The Pilgrimage aims to be one of MISSION - working with marginalised people of Cambodia in Battambang and IMMERSION - interacting in the culture and society of Cambodia gaining an understanding of this vibrant country and develop an appreciation of its history, geography, people and lifestyle.