By: Lucy Mazzucco
Although Sinn Meang experienced a difficult childhood and lost his father at a young age, he still sought out an education and quickly began to discover his passion for helping others. His journey towards an education consisted of waking up at 5 a.m. everyday and riding his bicycle up to 25 kilometres to go to school.
In 2014, he founded Volunteer Building Cambodia, a project recognized worldwide with aims to restore Cambodia through volunteer work. Meang, who grew up in Kandal province, grew up in a low-income family who struggled to live and eat daily due to the circumstances in Cambodia and witnessed first-hand the troubles local communities endured on a day-to-day basis just to survive.
Determined to pursue his passion, Meang began a tourism business, “Smart Sinn Travel and Tour,” dedicated to providing transportation to local hotels, offering tour guides, and packaged tours. This led to the founding of VBC, a locally-registered, community-driven NGO with the aim and dedication to help locals in Cambodia's communities with the help from volunteers.
Since Meang was able to experience the hardships and struggles local Cambodians endured daily, he sought out to create an organization in which these locals had access to help and a chance at a better life. By creating VBC, he was able to put his passion for helping others to work in order to benefit the lives of multiple communities as he worked hands-on with volunteers from all over the world.
VBC’s aim is to improve the living conditions of locals while providing access to clean water, safe housing, and accessibility to toilets. The organization currently has four active projects: house-, toilet-, clean-well-, and community-centre-building projects that volunteers worldwide make possible.
With the help of these volunteers, VBC has successfully worked on a commune consisting of nine villages. They have also provided repairs to existing houses where necessary and have been able to provide toilets both to individual homes and communities along with wells that enable access to clean water.
VBC is in the process of building a community centre where the organization plans on providing locals with an education and lessons in English. The centre will enable Cambodians to have a chance at an education. Along with this community centre, it has also been working on building a warehouse for the locals.
Once a house has been built for a family, the organization follows up with them regularly through a two-year impact assessment in order to obtain updates on how their living situation has changed since VBC has helped them.
Because the organization depends on volunteers to make its projects possible and furthering its mission, the organization is always looking for new people who would like to contribute to its movement. Along with cash donations, VBC accepts used goods including toys and books in order to give out to families in the communities. International volunteers and donations are welcomed in order to spread awareness to the organization's mission and continuing its hard work in order to provide better lives for residents in Cambodia.