2019 January Newsletters


The goal of World of Difference (WOD) is to provide volunteering tourism experiences not just to Rotarians but to friends and supporters of Rotary. Projects that are delivered by Rotary Clubs often evolve from such experiences on tour.


WOD offers four different tour experiences.



WOD Humanitarian Tours provide participants with the opportunity to blend together the best tourist sights of Cambodia with short duration participation in some of the amazing projects supported by Rotary that truly make a Difference to the lives of people in Cambodia. Humanitarian tours are normally of 14 to 21 days duration. The next Humanitarian Tour is scheduled for 14 days leaving on March15th 2019 – see details below.



WOD Schoolies Tours are important because they expose our young people to humanitarian projectsthrough our “Schoolies alternative” tours. Like the Humanitarian Tours, participants get a tour that is tailored to their age, understanding and interests. Significantly the schools participating in tours raise funds to support projects that they will visit. Involving secondary students in Schoolies Tours allows the next generation to continue the humanitarian works of those of us that go before them.

The next Schoolies Tour involves the Upper Yarra Secondary College and is scheduled for 2nd December 2018 – see details below.

Do you know a school or sports group interested in developing the humanitarian values of participants?



WOD Family Tours are targeted at families-cross generational learning and sharing. Children, parents/guardians and grandparent/mentors share the experience of appreciating the challenges faced by their family peers in poverty stricken Cambodia.

The different generations are able to share their perspective on what they see, hear and feel. Like the Humanitarian Tour and the Schoolies Tour, Family Tours bring together a balance of sight-seeing and experiential learning that is targeted to the age and understanding of the children.

The next Family Tour is scheduled for November 2019 –see details below.



WOD Working Together (Hands On) Tours are for humanitarians (Rotarians and friends) that want to take the next step forward and spend more time working on project than sight-seeing (the mix changes from 50:50 to 80:20).

Working Together Teams are a mix of Cambodians (generally from the village) and visiting international volunteers undertaking pre-planned project activities that fit into the long range plan for that village. Projects could include building a vegetable garden at a school, painting classrooms or health centres, installing solar power, building water filters, constructing library shelves and the like.

In most instances projects have evolved from other WOD tours. Skills and interests of participants can be matched to a range of tasks to be performed if the core project team activity does not suit an individual.

The next WOD Working Together (Hands On) Tours is scheduled for 5-18 January 2019 and will focus on thevillage La’ak that is located to the south west of Siem Reap. Contact Paul Rake 0409937080 for more information.




WOD has tested several channels for supporting project delivery in Cambodia and remains flexible in its support of Rotary Clubs.

Sustainable Communities Cambodia (SCC) is one project delivery channel that WOD promotes. SCC focuses on the delivery of long term sustainable community development projects in remote rural villages throughout Cambodia.

Through channels such as SCC, WOD aims to bring together Rotary clubs who are looking to get involved in exciting international projectswith remote communities who need Rotary’s assistance to move out of poverty. SCC guide the Rotary club(s) through the process of forming a working committee with the commune and village communities and then helps them to identify and scope out the different levels of aid that can be delivered, that will see the communities move from poverty to an economical and sustainable future.

Once the scope of work and funding requirements have been identified SCC assist club(s) in identifying potential funding partners and to formulate an application for a Rotary Foundation Global Grant

If you feel your club might not have the capacity to take on a project why not talk to us about the opportunity to partner a number of clubs on a project. For more information please contact Barry Hickman on 0416 088 851.


The scope of work is usually rolled out over a 4-6 year period and covers the following stages:

Stage 1.

Water, health and sanitation

Stage 2.

Community education

Stage 3.

Education and training in agricultural and economic development activities incorporating micro finance

Stage 4.

Schooling of children



International projects and tours are a wonderful way to build and motivate your members who are often seeking to get involved in some meaningful humanitarian work and make a World of Difference in the lives of those living in poverty. So why not adopt a project, an aspect of a multi club project, organise a tour for your membersand member’s friends or a vocational tour. It is truly alife changing experience that should be on the bucket list of every Rotarian.




The students of Upper Yarra Secondary College (UYSC) have been enthusiastically fundraising for their third tour of Cambodia. Over the last 12 months the students have run different fundraising initiatives such as sausagesizzles, selling 1,000’s chocolate bars, holding movie nights, cleaning teacher’s cars and more, raising morethan a whopping $10,000. They have done so well that World of Difference have added another $5,000 and thanks to the assistance of the Rotary Club of Melbourne South Rotary Foundation a further $5,000 to their tally.


The students will invest the funds during their December tour in several areas including donating pigs to families in need, donating push bikes to students who currently walk more that 10km to and from school every day, funding the replacement of a dilapidated roof on an old school in regional Cambodia and much, much more.

To the students and teachers of Upper Yarra Secondary College WELL DONE AND THANK YOU!! You have every reason to be proud of yourselves as you are making a World of Difference in the lives of others less fortunate and you are an inspiration!!!

A special thanks to the Rotary Club of Wandin for their generous donation.



Would you like to see the power of Rotary in Action?

This tour is perfect for those who would like to roll up their sleeves and get involved in some humanitarian work such as teaching at a school, building water filters and helping out at an orphanage.

During this 14-day tour, you will also visit many of Cambodia’s spectacular tourist attractions including Angkor Wat and its many temples, museums that capture the dark past of Cambodia during the cold war, Battambang’s amazingbats, a wildlife rescue centre and more. For more information please contact Barry Hickman on 0416 088 851.


Rotarian Rithy Ann from Cambodia is coming to Melbourne and you are invited to share some time with one of the most generous and experienced Rotary project managers in Cambodia

We are seeking expression of interest from people interested in home hosting Rithy for one or more days around the Multi-District conference between 12th and 23rd of February.

Please contact Barry Hickman 0416 088 85 or Paul Rake 0409 937 080 to discuss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Rithy is also available to present to Rotary Clubs during this period – so you can host and include a Club presentation.



Primary school education for the young people in the remote villages of Cambodia and Laos remains a key strategy to break the cycle of poverty and Rotary continues to support this major change strategy.

Bossala School is continuing to educate hundreds of primary children from surrounding villages in Kampong Speu, Cambodia.

Rithy travels 8 hours from Siem Reap, through Phnom Penh into Kampong Speu province every few weeks to monitor the school teachers and wider community. Facebook contact with the School Principal and other teachers enables the Aussie WOD committee members to stay in touch remotely and occasionally we spend a day in the community, which last occurred in June.

In January 2018 a Rotary Vocational training Team (VTT) of teachers travelled and shared their knowledge with many remote village teachers. The teachers from Bossala School were able to up-skill through the program, undertaking the higher modules 3 and 4. Evidence of the success of the program was when I visited and peeked in through the windows to find that desks were arranged in this circular fashion. Usually in Cambodia the desks are in rows with children lined up like soldiers ready to respond with rote learning their lessons. To see them in round table discussions and using strategies from the VTT tool kits was heart- warming.

There were almost 300 children attending the school last year. Currently the children are on their end of year break. Soon they will be enrolling again for the start of the new year. Future Light Orphanage (FLOW) senior students are being remunerated at present to teach English out of hours to the children during their vacation.

Depending on the severity and lateness of wet season, as well as the agricultural needs of the families we are hopeful that there will be a really high enrolment for next year. The school has a capacity of 500. In November 2018 Upper Yarra Secondary School students will again spend time in Bosala. This will be their third tour and time in the community. They have installed swing sets in the playground, planted trees and donated laptop computers in previous tours.

The sponsorship program allows children in this very remote and poor community to be educated. Contributions to the teachers’ salaries, the children’s’ educational materials, bicycles to transportthose who have more than 8 kms to get to school, and uniforms is so important. We know that this area of focus contributes to peace and in Cambodia education is critical.

Rithy will be in Australia (visa pending) during January- February. It would be his great pleasure to come and report with more detail on the important stepping stones Rotary Clubs are paving for education through Bosala School.


In conjunction with Rotary Central Melbourne and the Australian Government, WOD has assisted in the funding of the renovation of a fifth primary school in Luang Prabang, Laos. We are looking forward to the formal handover ceremony scheduled to take place on December 5th in the village of Ban Heuthan.



A big thank you to the Rotary Club of Brighton, Balwyn, Darwin and Battambang, who have secured an $89,000 (USD) Rotary Foundation Global Grant to expand the work of Sustainable Communities in Cambodia.

The funds will be invested in a community in the Varin Districtthat WOD’s Rithy Lay has identified as a community inreal need. The funds will enable Rithy to help the community to establish a community fish farm and to help family groups who are living below the poverty line to start businesses such as cattle farming, crop farming and bamboo farming. The grant will also fund the building and supply of 300 bio-sand filters so that 300 families will have access to clean drinking water.

Based on the success of our work in Bossala and Kroa Boa, we will be piloting the provision of humanitarian aid on a micro-finance loan basis, so that if successful, we can re-invest the repaid funds in other family groups who are wanting to start-up businesses making it a Global Grant that keeps giving!!




A community group including some Rotarians organised a fund raising event to support the project works of Build Your Future Today - a Cambodian NGO run by Cambodians for Cambodians.

The event was held at The International at Brighton and raised over $40,000 including a contribution of $5,000 from the Rotary Club of Griffith (NSW) and a grant from their District to the amount of $3,000. The funds raised will enable water bores to be installed in the village of La’ak together with nutritional feeding program for the school students for 17 months and almost 100 school kits made up of uniforms, shoes, back pack and stationery.



As we approach Christmas you might consider sending a donation to World of Difference in lieu of a present to a friend or family member. We will send you a card for you to complete and send on to your intended recipient. For a donation of just $10 we will buy crop seeds for a family in a remote village in Cambodia, for $20 we will provide tools for agriculture, for $50 a bicycle for a family and for $100 a piglet for breeding to enable a family to generate a sustainable income.

There is a different card for each donation and as always its tax deductible. These donations and cards are available all year round and can be used for any occasion, birthdays, anniversaries or just to say thank you.

Please follow this link to the order form on the World of Difference website: http://www.wod.org.au/

World of Difference tours visit these and other projects and provide the opportunity for tourists to see and understand the importance of their donations and volunteering efforts. Apart from our scheduled tours we can create custom itineraries for service clubs, schools, families, companies or just groups of friends. Tourists do not need to be Rotarians.

In Cambodia WOD relies very heavily on the commitment and skills of our man on the ground, Rithy Ann. He manages our tours, identifies opportunities for projects and works tirelessly to support those in his Cambodian communities that are less well off than himself. Rithy will be coming to Australia early in 2019 to visit Rotary clubs and attend the multi-district Rotaryconference in February. If you’d like Rithy and/or a member of WOD to visit your local club or community group to talk about how you can get involved please email: rob.hines@live.com.au to express your interest.

Remember we are happy to talk to any group, Rotary, Lions, Probus, sporting club, church or community group that is interested in helping improve the lives of the rural villagers in Cambodia or Laos



After successfully upskilling the teachers of Cambodia with better teaching practices, Barry Hickman and Gary Moller (Co-Author with Audrey Bugeja of the Teachers Handbook – Levels 1, 2 & 3 - Participating VTT Member on three trips) recently travelled to Lesotho to scope out the delivering of our Vocational Teacher Training program to the teachers of Lesotho.

During their visit, they met with the principals of 17 schools, all of which were extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity for their teachers to be involved in a pilot program to ask us to schedule the training for January 2019, just before the first term starts. Subject to funding, we will be delivering the program to 107 teachers which will benefit 4,252 students across 17 schools.

If you or a friend would like to learn more about this Vocational Teacher Training program, please contact Barry Hickman on 0416 088 851.

If you have a medical specialist, a teacher or trades people in your club we can also help you to organise a Vocational Training tour where your club specialists can upskill the locals.

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