Student shares “moving” experiences from Cambodia Symposium

Emma Gordon (left) with Australian students from UTS, Curtin, The University of Adelaide, and QUT.
Emma Gorman (left) with Australian students from UTS, Curtin, The University of Adelaide, and QUT.

Flinders University students have met with future leaders from 47 countries at the recent Humanitarian Affairs 5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Cambodia.

Emma Gorman and Jason Burns, from the School of International Studies, spent a week in Pnomh Penh, where they shared ideas with other delegates around the theme of “Dream it, Plan it, Do it”.

The pair participated at the Symposium through the Learn Without Borders (LWB) Program, which provides Flinders students with the opportunity to study overseas during their degree.

Symposium speakers included several key figures at NGOs in South-East Asia, including Ibu Robin Lim, who runs a natural birthing clinic in Bali; Pushpa Basnet, who cares for vulnerable children who would otherwise be raised in prisons in Nepal; Geraldine Cox, who founded the Sunrise Children’s Village in Phnom Penh; and Ponheary Ly, who set up the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Cambodia.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit the National Museum, the Royal Palace and the Tuol Sleng S21 Genocide Museum in Pnomh Penh.

The Learn Without Borders Program has over 80 partners across 32 countries and offers a variety of short term options across the globe.

Ms Gorman, who is in her 5th year of Law and International Studies at Flinders, said the Symposium had given her a fantastic opportunity to meet with and learn from those making a real difference to the lives of people in disadvantaged communities.

“We heard from speakers on themes such as ‘Living an Extraordinary Life’, ‘The Making of a Young Hero’, and ‘Finding Your Calling’,” Ms Gorman said.

“We were also able to meet with the Symposium speakers throughout the week to ask them questions, which was really special.

“The most memorable part of the experience for me was being involved in the “Learning Journey”, which is a one-day humanitarian volunteer project that exposed delegates to real-world poverty issues.

“As part of that, I visited Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing food, medical care, general education and vocational training to maltreated, destitute and uneducated children in Cambodia.

“At PSE I was able to work alongside other delegates with Cambodian children who suffer from intellectual and physical disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, burns to vision loss.

“We spent the morning playing with the children and conducted aquatic therapy before lunch. That was a really powerful and moving experience.”

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