Darcy gives Cambodians a sporting chance

Tuesday, 08 April 2014

For Attadale fitness student Darcy Knott, a volunteer program in Cambodia has proven to be an away game with a difference.

Studying a Certificate IV in Fitness and Massage Therapy at Challenger Institute of Technology, Darcy travelled to Cambodia as part of the institute’s corporate social responsibility program, Challenger Cares.

The program, which kicked off this year with projects in India and Cambodia, provides Challenger students with the opportunity to help underprivileged children and young people improve their academic and employment prospects.

Darcy was one of five students and one lecturer who spent three weeks in Cambodia helping non-profit organisation One-2-One Charitable Trust increase its knowledge of health and fitness.

Cambodia is known for its breathtaking Angkor Wat temples, but it is also a country plagued with endemic poverty.

“I expected to be shocked by the living standards of the orphans and the rest of the population and, in that, my expectations were certainly met,” Darcy said.

“I expected to experience a whole new culture that would change my understanding of the human experience, comparing western society to societies like that of Cambodia, and this expectation was also met.

“I expected to feel pity for these people, to feel sorry for them and their lives. This assumption proved entirely unfounded.

“The people of Cambodia inspired and amazed me every minute of every day of my trip. They are happy, positive and committed to furthering themselves wherever possible.”

Darcy said each day he would work with two groups of orphans and staff from One-2-One. He said he was full of praise for the Cambodians’ positive attitude and eagerness to learn.

“They arrived every day with smiles on their faces and an appetite to learn and develop their health and fitness knowledge with us,” he said.

Challenger Institute’s manager international relations Martin Turnbull said the inaugural overseas Challenger Cares programs were a resounding success.

“The students found the trips life-defining and their experiences have the potential to influence their future careers,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Global mobility programs such as these allow Challenger students to improve their graduate and employability outcomes, as more than 80 per cent of employers believe graduates who undertake an overseas experience return to Australia with enhanced skills.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Challenger Institute student Darcy Knott (centre) at the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia with fellow global mobility students.

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