HUGE grins plastered on the faces of Cambodian children living with physical disabilities sparked an eight-year dream that recently came true for Abbey Feutrill.
Since the age of 10, Abbey, now 18, has dreamt of visiting La Valla school, Cambodia’s only government-approved institution offering full primary education to children with physical disabilities.
Abbey’s Noosa-based primary school had supported La Valla school through Catholic charity organisations, and it was posters of the children’s smiles that touched her the most.
“All I can remember is the kids’ faces, seeing them with volunteers who obviously had put those smiles on the children,” Abbey said.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to do that one day and put a smile on their faces’.”
The teenager’s dream came true when Marist Youth Ministry regional co-ordinator Sally McEniry paid a visit to her school, St Teresa’s Catholic College, last year, and mentioned a volunteering opportunity in Cambodia with Marist Volunteers Australia.
Abbey left for a two-month voluntary placement at La Valla school on April 30.
She will be tutoring students and assisting in their daily schedules at the school, which accommodates almost 100 children with disabilities from across Cambodia.
The school offers classes in traditional Cambodian music, English, elementary computing, physical and hydro-therapy, sewing, and guitar.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.