In a heart-warming display of international cooperation and goodwill, the Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) recently welcomed a delegation from New Hope Cambodia. The visit marked a significant milestone in the longstanding partnership between the two organisations, which share a common goal of providing education and support to communities.

New Hope Cambodia provides free education, free health care and crisis care support for pre-school aged children and youth who come from families living in Mondul Bai Village, Siem Reap. It’s an internationally respected, non-government organisation, founded by local entrepreneur Soth Kemsour with the mission of offering educational opportunities to the critically poor in their community. Over the years, the partnership between New Hope and the AITC has flourished, with students and staff from the AITC actively participating in fundraising efforts to support New Hope’s initiatives through the International Service Project.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this partnership is the initiative taken by the AITC studentsthemselves. Students from across the six AITC schools undertake fundraising activities to finance their own trips to Cambodia. These fundraising efforts, ranging from sausage sizzles, car washes, odd jobs, to community events, demonstrate the students’ deep commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

Upon arriving in Cambodia, students, staff and industry supporters, roll up their sleeves and dive into meaningful work alongside the New Hope community. They assist in building homes for the critically poor in Siem Reap and help with the maintenance and upkeep of the New Hope school facilities. From painting to repairing, the students’ contributions extend far beyond the construction sites.

During their visit, the New Hope team had the opportunity to witness firsthand the dedication and enthusiasm of the AITC community. Kemsour, the visionary founder of New Hope, was deeply moved by the students’ efforts. “Their willingness to work hard and make a difference is inspiring,” Kemsour remarked, acknowledging the impact of their contributions on the community.

Reflecting on their experiences, students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful endeavour. “Helping to build homes and improve school facilities at New Hope has been a life-changing experience for all of us,” shared one student. “It’s humbling to see the difference we can make when we come together with a common purpose.”

Mark Hands, CEO of the AITC, emphasised the transformative power of the partnership with New Hope. “Our collaboration with New Hope is more than a service project; it’s an opportunity for our students to develop empathy, compassion, and a global perspective,” Mark says. “By working alongside the New Hope community, our students gain valuable life skills and contribute to positive change in the world.”

The visit was a reaffirmation of the strong partnership between the AITC and New Hope but and an opportunity to strengthen ties and explore new avenues of collaboration. Key moments, such as meeting with the AITC Board Chair Ric Roach and visiting AITC schools, underscored the depth of the relationship between the two organisations.

As plans for the next International Service Project (ISP) to Cambodia take shape, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation among students and staff alike. The next trip to Cambodia is scheduled for September, promising another opportunity for students to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.

The AITC extends a heartfelt thank you to the following members of the New Hope team for their dedication and partnership:

  • Ron Carter, Board Member of New Hope
  • Soth Kemsour, Founder of New Hope
  • Phearun Leu, Executive of New Hope
  • Sarady Heng, Executive of New Hope
  • Veha Hai, Executive of New Hope

The AITC also acknowledges the invaluable contributions of the following team members:

  • Dennis Beck, AITC Member (Past Chair) and ISP Project Leader
  • Shane Summers, AITC Member and ISP Project Leader

Together, their collaborative efforts have made a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals, embodying the spirit of compassion and solidarity that defines the AITC-New Hope partnership.