Postcards from a trip: Day 5
"So amazing to see a lady with no legs operating an old Singer sewing machine by rocking on a special chair attached to the machine"
When? Day 5 Where? Banteay Prieb What? Touring the Vocational Training Centre for Disabled Students “Taken around by Indon – an Indonesian priest who runs the Centre – what a humble and inspiring man. The whole place is a wonderful peaceful haven – home for a year for men and women disabled by landmines and polio. This if their chance to break the cycle of isolation and lack of purpose to their lives. In purpose built thatched cottages they learn to look after themselves and each other, cooking, sleeping and living together as part of a ‘family’ of other men or women. Eating in the women’s house is definitely the best option! Seems the men are still working at it! Went around all the workshops and saw how they learn to build wooden and metal wheelchairs, carve intricate wooden figures, breed pigs and turkeys, sew bags and garments, repair motorbikes and computers. Looked over the plans and site for the new building funded by SBB to expand their workshop facilities. So amazing to see a lady with no legs operating an old Singer sewing machine by rocking on a special chair attached to the machine to drive the wheel; a woman with no hand patiently anchoring a bag whilst she sews with her good hand; men in wheelchairs chipping gently at blocks of wood to fashion beautiful carvings – meticulously putting into practice the skills they have learnt here from gentle teachers. Thought this day would be dull, but it was absolutely inspiring. Seeing how this former Khmer Rouge ‘killing field’ has been transformed into such a haven that nurtures these otherwise neglected people and gives them skills to rebuild their lives, has been an absolute eye-opener for me.”
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