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More highlights of ODA’s busy year

So many fun activities to share 

Creating videos and more

First time we have had so much to share that we have needed a follow up newsletter.  Back to normal next month.  Read on and enjoy…

“Who would like to learn about making a video?”

Suzanne, Stephen, and Trai Van ODA IT were mobbed by these seven keen students wanting to learn. Enthusiastic clicking day 1 and with many flat batteries, they learned to be more selective on day 2.

Returnee volunteers from Canada Suzanne and Stephen worked with IT Manager Trai Van and a group of keen ODA students to work on the basics of photography and making a video. 

They visited the village schools learning about the skill of capturing interesting and appealing content.

Then Stephen with Trai Van’s assistance made it into an overview video of ODA schools. A fun and rewarding project as our students are exposed to so many different ideas thanks to our wonderful volunteers. Click to view here

Successful Melbourne ODA Khmer Dinner

50 ODA supporters attended the Khmer Gustation Dinner in Melbourne.  Food was amazing but even better was meeting long term supporters face to face. Wonderful event thanks Julie.

Melbourne Fund Raising Dinner organised around Lai Hun and Sok Vun’s visit was a great success but also a lovely opportunity to meet Melbournite’s and surrounding supporters.  Julie worked her magic in just two weeks with securing a venue, donated raffle prizes and locking in Khmer Chef Thida to guest chef the amazing gastronomic Khmer focused menu.  One party of 5 drove 1.5 hours to attend and then the same to return home.  Another, an 86 year old caught a train in and walked 30 mins from the station with his walking stick to attend.  Renata another long term supporter very kindly drove him back to the station after. 

We also had 3 overseas supporters send a donation in lieu of their not being able to attend in person!!  A zillion thanks to all for making ‘Meeting The Girls’ such a success.

Accomplished ODA UK Fundraises

Making the transition into Newbie Volunteers

14 seater mini bus?  More like 20+.  Volunteers Gill and Peter good naturedly squashed in to join in the fun. Luckily this trip the bus didn’t break down as it’s regularly leaving the students stranded on their way to and from school.  Just need a Lotto win to replace it!!!

Never short on enthusiasm to try something new, Gill and Peter from UK are seasoned ODA fund raisers, and decided to cut their teeth on volunteering early this year. Nervous to start, they were helped along by regular supporters and quickly swung into action.  They visited and worked at village schools as well, but found the rough roads (Leng calls them the Free Massage roads)  a little difficult for their backs to manage too often, so preferred to work at ODA Central most of the time.  They really enjoyed the experiences and getting to know the teachers and students. 

Volunteers are so valuable at all ODA schools.  It’s also great to have time for Leng and others to get to know kind supporters face to face. 

Maple Syrup Pancakes 


Who Got Egg on My Phone?


Volunteer Suzanne

Thumbs up from My Sung after tasting the pancakes

What do two Canadian volunteers do soon after they arrive at ODA Central? Haul two litres of maple syrup out of their bags, of course, and have the children make Canadian pancakes.

It started with a short lesson, discussing the different types of pancakes around the world. Then out came the flour, eggs, and other ingredients, along with measuring cups and spoons.


 2 cups flour                                        2 eggs

1 tsp salt                                              1 1/2 cups milk

1 Tbsp baking powder            1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

 1 Tbsp sugar

Three mixing stations were set up with three or four students at each. Another station was cutting fruit that another couple of volunteers had generously supplied. Students knife techniques were worthy of any cooking show!


Measuring cups were passed back and forth along with puffs of flour. Critical lessons given on the difference between sugar and salt. Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Well, that was according to the recipe but sometimes enthusiasm took over and it all ended up clumped in one bowl. Vigorous beating soon solved the problem. 


I had the recipe on my phone, propped up on the table. The photography/video students (that’s another story)  were shooting the event. Viewing the video later I can be heard wailing “Who got egg on my phone?” That became the ongoing joke with the older students for the rest of our time at ODA – who got egg on Suzanne’s phone. Followed, of course, by lots of laughter.


Mixing bowl in one hand, large spoon in the other, the students were off to the stove. No frying pans but two woks were put to use. One was dubbed the rocking wok, but it still did the job. The eager young cooks had to be reminded that we weren’t deep frying these pancakes, that only a dribble of oil was required for frying.


Flipping the pancakes was fun. Only one actually hit the floor. A treat for the dog!


Another table had been set up and one student was pouring the maple syrup into little cups. Strong instruction given not to drink it.  Plate in hand, the children lined up for a pancake, fruit, and maple syrup. Then seconds and thirds. Watch out, that’s Leng again, it could be fourths for him, and hide the Maple Syrup, he loves that!


Pancake Day was declared a delicious success but I’m still wondering

who got egg on my phone.”

No doubt there will be many more pancake days at ODA

2024 Challenges and hurdles.

2024 and Leng faces familiar hurdles: securing funds to sustain the 33 student boarding school full care costs, free classes amid rising costs plus student school bus and maintenance vehicle continual expensive breakdowns (they are old but we need a tattslotto win to replace them), replacement of a badly leaking roof at No 5 school, rebuilding and raising toilets at No 3 school due to sinking low lying land – good for rice growing but not for sewerage run off, replacement of Schools Solar Batteries and other requirements are among the many challenges for Leng to work through. 

Supporters are crucial to ODA’s community's well-being, ensuring vital services continue and succeed despite the financial challenges, and your ongoing interest helps sustain Leng’s continued energy and determination.

One step at a time, ODA is paving the way to improved futures for these keen youngsters who don’t lack enthusiasm and effort, but just need the opportunity of free employment focussed education.

Leng sends Akun Thom Thom (big big thanks)

for your support and interest in ODA’s Free Village Schools.

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