Engaging with the Community by Volunteering

By Sokheng Chheng, ACE Accounts Assistant

I’m an Accounts Assistant at ACE Siem Reap campus. It’s my great honour to share how I engage with the community by volunteering. I’m interested in and passionate about social and community work. For that reason, I volunteer throughout the year at various NGOs that do charity and humanitarian work. One of the most interesting NGOs I regularly work with is The Ark. 

The Ark is a rehabilitation centre that helps young Cambodians who are struggling with dependence on alcohol and other drugs to achieve long-term sobriety and happiness, to gain the strength and courage to become better citizens, and to find their place in society. It helps young people, including children who are involved with drugs, by providing them with skills and training in accordance with their interests. This helps to prevent ongoing dependence on drugs including alcohol, glue and ice (methamphetamine). The Ark is also a halfway house, that is, a viable accommodation option for those whose rehabilitation programs have ended. I’ve listened to a lot of unforgettable stories at The Ark. The impact of drug dependence on their lives often leaves them feeling lost and hopeless. They suffer from discrimination in the community and are often ignored by their family and friends. In addition, they all have emotional and physical health problems.

Through my volunteer work, I’ve learned how to engage with the community, solve problems, help the people around me feel happier, and encourage the hopeless to feel hopeful. The most important things I’ve learned, however, are the impact of drug dependence and how to prevent myself and those around me from becoming involved with alcohol and other drugs.

I recommend that all ACE students and readers avoid alcohol and other drug use. There’s no safe level of use: the use of any drug is always risky. At the Ark, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and fulfilment, and I’ve met and talked to many different people. I hope this article will inspire readers to find a way to engage with the community that fits their interests.

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