A little more than a year ago, Frank Mullen, an architect originally from Indiana, sold everything he owned, including his house, and went to Cambodia to offer his services as an unpaid volunteer to a group called Sustainable Cambodia. “Sustainable Cambodia works with the families of rural Cambodian villages to help them achieve sustainability and self-sufficiency through wells, irrigation systems, schools, training and empowerment.” Frank is living in Pousat Province, using his skills as an architect to build and/or renovate buildings in the surrounding areas for local villagers.
The Children’s House has taken on his spirit of giving, and has been sending donations for various projects he is working on. One project we participated in was raising money to buy bicycles for local village children so they could get back and forth to school. The Children’s House students raised over $200 so that Frank could take 4 students from Pousat Province to buy refurbished bikes. Our students also voted to send any donated monies, not otherwise designated, to Little Circle Cambodia, the Facebook page Frank Mullen established to accept donations for the projects he works on, and chronicle the projects he is doing in Cambodia. We recently sent $50 to Frank to be used for materials he needs for a house he is refurbishing for one of the local families. Frank wrote us this letter in response to our recent donation.
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A letter from Frank Mullen and Sustainable Cambodia
Dear People of the Children’s House-
When you gave Sopheap a bicycle, it changed her life. Every day when I work on rebuilding her family’s house in Krang Popleak, I see her ride it home from school. She is liberated.
When I first came to see where her family lived, I didn’t expect to find a place that provided so little shelter. I knew I had to fix it, and I trusted that if I asked for help, people would come through with enough money to do it right. People like you. Thank you for your role in the Kong family’s future, again.
This past week was a good one for the project. We’re pushing to enclose the addition so the family can live in it while we strip the walls and roof of the existing house. The addition now has a roof, wood siding, a front door, and some wood slats to provide security and shade to the outside porch. I’ve learned a lot about Cambodia by showing up every day in a rural village. The people are helpful and kind, working and laughing with me, supplying me with cold water and mangos, learning a little English along the way.
I hope in a few weeks the house will be finished so we can move back to work on the sewing shop project. The rainy season is here and the daily rainfall will only increase in the months ahead. The sewing shop has the same problem as the Kong family. Life doesn’t work very well if you can’t have a dry place.
Your donations are deeply felt. Some would say the Children’s House is a small school. I say it’s 9,000 miles wide.