A holiday to Cambodia sparked a love affair with the country for Jennie Allan.
The Lynfield resident first visited the country in 2006 and did an organised tour.
“It was the most amazing experience. I fell in love with the country and people unexpectedly. The people are so brave and humble. It’s an interesting place, it’s had so much tragedy. They are very resilient.”
Mrs Allan decided she wanted to go back as more than just a tourist so she put the idea at the top of her “bucket list” of things to do in her lifetime and in 2008 she organised a trip with her husband to Vietnam and Cambodia.
She found an organisation called Globalteer, which provides volunteer placements, and when her husband flew back home, she stayed in Cambodia for a month as a volunteer at the New Hope Community Centre.
The primary school teacher taught English to people of all ages, many of whom go to the area of Siem Reap hoping to get work in the tourism industry and need to learn English.
The community centre provides everything from education to medical care for the community.
Mrs Allan says the area has a high number of sex workers and a lot of women and girls travel to Siem Reap hoping to get into tourism but instead end up having to work as prostitutes.
“The community centre is set up right in the middle of it,” says Mrs Allan.
It provides things like sewing classes, beauty therapy and IT training and also has a chicken farm to help make the community self-supporting.
Mrs Allan is keen to give something back to the community centre so she is holding a fundraising movie night on 17 June 2010 at 7.30pm at the Hollywood Theatre in Avondale.
The film is Date Night which stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey and tickets cost $20, which includes a bag of lollies and a chance to win spot prizes.
There is also an artwork which has been donated for a silent auction.