Inspired by Rotary's youth group, Rotaract, the older Geckos decided that it was time to help others in their community. Together they have created Gecko Action and you will often find them gathered, buzzing with their new ideas for fundraising and assisting. So far sausages have sizzled, temples tidied, students provided with essential study materials and families fed.
Gecko Action regularly participates in Siem Reap community clean up days. Rubbish is a huge problem in Siem Reap and we really want to help educate others and work towards a much cleaner Cambodia. Working with many other wonderful organisations, such as Rehash Trash, we spend time picking up rubbish, cleaning our water ways and educating others to work towards a cleaner Cambodia. We are trying really hard to use single use coffee cups, take away containers and cloth bags as these three things are definitely the worst types of rubbish for Cambodia.
Once a year World Vets visit Siem Reap for a very full on three days of consultations and desexing local street animals, pagoda cats and dogs and Khmer pets. If you have ever visited Siem Reap you would have noticed the many many street animals (both cats and dogs) and it is wonderful to see that over the years more and more Cambodians are beginning to care for animals. Every year we volunteer by helping out with translations, registration, education and providing love and care for the recovering animals. Though it is a very busy three days, it is something we love to do.
Gecko Action work with many local public schools, giving workshops on hygiene and health. Unfortunately many children in Cambodia suffer from an illness that is caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. Teaching young students about brushing their teeth, caring for their hair and washing their hands properly is so important to reduce the risk of getting sick. We love to spend time with the younger generation, making sure everyone is as healthy as they can be. We also work towards organising visits by dentists or to our Purple Mango Wellness Centre dental clinic.
Donating blood is a very new concept to many Khmers and something that can be quite frightening. But here at Gecko Action we want to show everyone that giving blood is easy and not scary at all. On a regular basis, all of our 18+ Geckos and staff head to the Angkor Children's Hospital to donate our 350ml of blood to help children who need regular transfusions or who are undergoing surgery. It is such an easy thing to do… why don't you give it a go when you are visiting Siem Reap.
Where we can we try to support other students in need, because we know how important education is. When we hold hygiene workshops we also donate books and stationary to the school so that their students can have the right materials to learn in class with. Between 2015 and 2017 we provided a scholarship to a young girl who was going to leave high school to get a job to support her family because they could not afford to pay school fees, uniforms and books. Sopheap passed her Year 12 with flying colours and won a scholarship to study Public Administration at university.
There are times when we find out about other people in difficult situations who need a little bit of help to get them through. In the past, we have improved houses for the elderly and given them some essential items to help them through some tough times. We have supported single mothers by taking them to the local Women's Resource Centre so they can have a support network and made sure that they have some safe housing. We help when we can as we understand the importance of someone giving you a chance.