If not tomorrow, make it today. This is the motto that I live by, and it was these words that drove me to volunteer in Cambodia with Challenges Abroad. The decision immediately filled me with intense excitement, knowing that I would be leaving Australia and living the life of someone else. I was on a mission to make a difference.
My name is Chloe Moore. I am passionate about initiating positive change in people’s lives and providing care to those in need. I am studying a Bachelor of Nursing, and I believe that promoting health to improve individual wellbeing is not only essential to a person’s livelihood, but a fundamental tool in health development.
I chose Challenges Abroad because it encourages teamwork. Alone we can do a little, but together we can do so much more. This saying sums up the spirit of this organisation and it resonated with me. From the moment I signed up to volunteer I received support from the organisation every step of the way. With the help from Challenges Abroad members and from other volunteers, I was able to work with the ‘Days for Girls’ charity for my project in Cambodia. This organisation provides re-useable, female sanitary items to girls in need.
With my team we set goals, lesson planned, created teaching materials and provided health promotion packs to over 100 female students. We had three key goals. First was to successfully educate students on the female reproductive system. Second was to educate female students on how to use female sanitary packs. Third was to empower these girls. Despite the cultural differences and language barriers that presented a challenge along the way, we were able to achieve these goals and make an impact.
Being a volunteer for Challenges Abroad enabled me to turn a dream into a real-life goal. What once was a vision, was became a reality. On top of this, I had the privilege of being the deputy leader of my team, working alongside 25 other volunteers.
I remember on the first day getting to know my team, laughing and making jokes together. We were all in the same boat – out of our comfort zones – but throughout the challenge we were never alone, always a team. We learnt so much about the Cambodia’s history, built rapport with the locals, and most of all created a shared experience.
During my 2 weeks in Cambodia I developed an understanding of the locals’ way of life. I worked alongside local doctors providing healthcare to remote communities, I navigated Battambang without a GPS device, my main form of transport was a tuk-tuk. I lived, ate and breathed like a Khmer – and what an honour that was. To watch as the locals laughed and appreciated everything they had was inspiring to see, despite Cambodia once being a nation disfigured with suffering and pain.
I truly believe that through experiencing different cultures and developing relationships with a variety of diverse people, initiating change is achievable. What I brought home with me was life changing – this experience has transformed my life. I made an impact on myself by living the life of someone else and I crave the opportunity to make change like this happen again.
Challenge yourself like I did. Your purpose in life is out there waiting for you. Challenges Abroad will help you find it, if you allow it.