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Festival Republic Charity News



Bike For Cambodia is a charity project which aims to raise enough money to build at least one school in Cambodia in South East Asia.

Bike For Cambodia is a charity project which aims to raise enough money to build at least one school in Cambodia in South East Asia.

Cambodia is a beautiful country but also one of the worlds poorest. A large proportion of children have limited access to education, and schools are often run down and poorly equipped, without running water or electricity, and teachers badly paid. Despite this, on his trip to Cambodia in 2009, Festival Republic employee, Ola Nilsson, found children keen to learn and excited at the prospect of attending school, and teachers eager to teach – all of them with a clear vision that education could help them to improve their lives.

Follow Ola on his travels across America 

Here's a little update from the world of Bike For Cambodia from Ola Nilsson.
"It is now just over a year since we started biking across the US, since then a lot of things have happened to us and I’m sure to all of you as well. The most exciting news is that the school building project in Cambodia is now finished and on Saturday 17th September the big opening ceremony took place on the school yard at Tonlebet Primary school right in front of the new school building.

For Bike For Cambodia there were four representatives visiting from Europe, Fredrik Olsson from Sweden, Kristin Forsberg from Sweden, Bradlee Banbury from London and myself (Ola Nilsson) from both Sweden and London. Hakan Nilsson could not attend as his wifehad just given birth a few days before the opening ceremony. (Congratulations!)

Opening ceremonies seems to be very popular and important in Cambodia as was the case with this one. There were red carpets, flags, podium, speeches, traditional Cambodian dancing, security, three TV stations and a few newspapers present. There were also a number of high officials coming from the capital Phnom Penn and from the province of Kampong Cham. More important than all the officials in the world were the students with their parents and grandparents and of course the monks that seem to be an obvious part in the Cambodians day to day life. They were with us on the podium giving us some blessings in return for offerings.

During this time of the year Cambodia rains alot, the rainy season is long and this year is worse than normal with flooding in many parts of the country. The Tonlebet village and the surroundings around it was no exception. The volleyball pitch on the school yard has turned into a pool with so much water that the kids went swimming there. The Mekong river that runs just a few meters from the gate into the school was now 11!!! meters higher than in February when we last visited the area. The flooding also made it impossible for some of the kids to get to the school for their classes let alone the opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony was the long-awaited finish for the Bike for Cambodia bike race/building school project. BUT, as you might already know this also is the start of all the other projects we are working on in Cambodia.

Since early spring we have had five teachers teaching English to students in Grades 5 and 6 at Tonlebet as well as in a nearby school called Krola. This time we had the chance to visit these lessons and meet both students and teachers. I must say that they have made great progress since they started. As English is not part of the study plan until Grade 7 here in Cambodia, this means that our classes are for everyone that wants to learn but it is up to them to decide if they want to study or not. The plan for the future is to add another two teachers and include Grade 4 as well in the project. If someone wants to be part of this project and want to sponsor a teacher then you are more than welcome. Each month the cost is $50 and as always all of the money (100%) goes direct to the cause.

In the very near future we are also building one tap/sink system at Tonlebet and Krola school. These are essential for the dental projects that are about to start as well. These projects will give 1100 students at Tonlebet and 300 at Krola the chance every day to brush their teeth. We have already received some funding for this and received 1200 free tooth brushes from Sweden during the summer.

I don’t wanna make this into a novel so will round up by saying thank you very very much to all of you for all support, all donations and all comments to us on-line or in real life. It has been great to be part of this and now when the school is up and running it feels like the circle (or cycle) has been closed.

We have loads of new projects that will be taking shape in the coming months so watch this space!!!

We will send you an update from the world of Bike For Cambodia again soon.

Best Regards

Ola Nilsson, Fredrik Olsson, Hakan Nilsson, Kristin Forsberg and Bradlee Banbury and everyone else involved."