A casual conversation has evolved into a project that will help Cambodian children, provides stable homes for their families and aid in the fight against human trafficking. At the same time it will offer Australian students, academics and construction professionals an experience they’ll never forget.
After connecting via a mutual friend, it soon became clear to Cundall’s Alistair Coulstock and RAWimpact’s Troy Roberts that there was a fantastic opportunity to bring together the construction industry and students to help those in poverty stricken Cambodia.
Alistair a Principal for Cundall and Troy who recently founded not-for-profit organisation RAWimpact will head up the Build Against The Traffick project, one of RAWimpact’s five development initiatives.
Alistair says “Within minutes of speaking with Troy, I realised we were on to something great, and the ‘Build Against The Traffick’ concept was born. Since that phone call everything has been falling into place. I’m a big believer of synchronicity, and subsequently, people have been entering my life who fit perfectly with this project.”
Commencing in July this year, students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) pairing with experienced architects to design houses for rural Cambodia. The students will assess energy use in developing countries and investigate passive and active solutions. They will be assisted by the architects, a core group of engineers and lecturers from UNSW and the Royal University of Pnomh Penh.
In areas of Cambodia are some of the poorest people in the world. The sheer scale of poverty puts immense pressure on families, who can do little to feed themselves and survive. As a result, trafficking of women, children and even the men is a regular occurrence.
Often, traffickers will poach from the most vulnerable villages fabricating lies that the children will have a better future, be educated, and have lots of food. With a sum of money equivalent to 3-6 months wages this may sway innocent and unsuspecting families into giving up their children. In other circumstances, the children may not have parents and could be living with a relative or friend – this makes the jobs of the pimps even easier.
“Hearing about these atrocities, I was determined for Cundall to work with RAWimpact to encourage the construction industry to come together to implement this project” Explained Alasdair.
The shortlisted designs will then be built by teams of professionals from the construction industry, suppliers, students and lecturers. Managing and overseeing the project will be Troy Roberts and his experienced local team of builders from RAWimpact.
As part of the trip the teams will visit the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields and S21 Torture School to gain an appreciation of what these amazing people have endured. The groups will then travel three hours north to Kompong Thamor, which will act as a base for the build.
As an additional challenge, teams will spend one night with a family in the village and try to feed them for the equivalent of $1 per person. It’s anticipated that the experience will provide a raw insight into the harsh realities faced by these families on a daily basis, and will be one they will never forget.
“We want to bring together a movement of people that will make a real impact on the world, and connect them with a cause that inspires them the most. And it’s not just about money.” Explains RAWimpact Founder Troy “We want them to bring their time, their ideas and their skills to the fight against some of the greatest injustices in the world today. And we truly believe that together we can make a real impact for very powerful change.”
Executive Chef, Sarah Swan from 100 Mile Table will also be travelling as a volunteer, creating some delicious culinary masterpieces for the same budget the teams have to feed their families. In this special event, Sarah will show everyone what can be created with so little money.
Cundall and RAWimpact are now looking to the industry to make this concept reality “We have everything in place and now seeking financial support from organisations by way of funding, donation of tools and apparel” Alasdair passionately explains. “Key to the project’s success is funding and generous donations to be able to cover the costs of the trip.”
If you would like to get involved, please contact:
Alistair Coulstock firstname.lastname@example.org