LSSC – LRS “GOS” Cambodia Project

The Lions Recycle for Sight (LRS) GOS (Gift Of Sight) Team embarked on its 2nd goodwill mission to Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 30 Oct to 3 Nov 2015. The Team’s mission was to provide free eye screening and free prescribed spectacles including sunglasses to the needy people to make a difference in their lives by giving them better vision.

The GOS team comprised 13 Lions, 4 optometrists and 3 non-Lions. They were led by Lion James Ko, supported by Lion Eric Koh.  The Team was challenged with over-weight baggage of over 400kg. This included their personal baggage together with new prescribed spectacles, new and old clothes and equipment packed in cartons. However, with the charitable support from SilkAir, the team was given additional 100kg FOC baggage to enable them to check in everything.

Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport on 30 Oct, the GOS Team was warmly welcomed by Mr Sedtha Long, CEO and founder of Build your Future Today Centre (BFT) and his team, our collaborating GOS Partner in Siem Reap. As it was a free afternoon for the GOS team, they were taken on a tour of the Killing Fields, Cultural Village and the Khmer Ceramic Centre after a quick lunch. After the tour, some adventurous members went on a quadbike ride to discover the sights of Siem Reap. In the evening, a BBQ dinner was arranged for the GOS Team and Lions from Bayon Lions Club.  After the BBQ, some members took the ‘tuk tuk’ to visit the local night market while some others joined the locals to celebrate ‘Halloween Night’.

On 31 Oct, the 1st day of the project, everyone was up before 6 am to get ready for the challenge ahead. At 7.00 am, after breakfast, the GOS Team, Lions from Angkor Wat Siem Reap and Bayon Lions Clubs and the BFT Team  set out to the first village of Kok Ta Chan.  Upon reaching the screening site, a quick survey was done and 4 group leaders were appointed. They got their members together, set up their stations and set about their work immediately. Every member of the team carried out his/her duty without a hitch. By late afternoon, a total of 549 villagers had their eyes screened and were given prescribed glasses or sunglasses. The children were rewarded with candies and biscuits which were donated by generous Lions and friends from Singapore.

On the 2nd day, 1 Nov, after a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, the GOS Team with the supporting entourage, reached Lo Lei Village around 7.30am. With the same efficiency they worked through to 4pm, stopping only for a quick lunch at about 12 pm. This time, 600 needy people were served.

On 2 Nov, Day 3 and final day of the GOS project, the whole project team arrived at Phum Pheak Bourn Village at about 7.30am. They worked till 3 pm stopping only to eat lunch. This time, 500 needy people were served. However, it was sad that not all the villagers could be helped, as their cataract was too advanced. As the project ended slightly earlier on this day, it provided the Lions from LCS Shangri la the opportunity to visit 3 pump wells which they had sponsored to provide water for 3 Siem Reap villages. After the visits, it was then back to the hotel to get ready for the Appreciation Dinner.

At the Appreciation Dinner, a quick GOS debrief was conducted followed by dinner, exchange of gifts and presentation of certificates by GOS Team and LCS Shangri la to the supporting groups of BFT and Angkor Wat Siem Reap and Bayon Lions Clubs. The Angkor Wat Siem Reap Lions Club presented framed Certificates of Appreciation to Lions Clubs of Singapore Changi, Fullerton and Shangri la, for supporting the Siem Reap GOS Project for two years.
It was an enjoyable evening which ended with the GOS Team bidding farewell to the supporting members from BFT and Lions from the Angkor Wat Siem Reap and Bayon Lions Clubs.

On 3 Nov, before the LRS GOS Team left Siem Reap for Singapore, some members went to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat at 4 am. At 9.30 am, they joined the rest of the Team to go on a boat ride along the Mekong River to visit the Kampong Phluk Village. The whole team adjourned for lunch at Mr Sedtha’s farm house. The lunch was personally cooked by Mrs Sedtha. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

Then it was “Home Sweet Home” as the Team headed to the airport after picking up their luggage from the hotel.
Every member of the LRS GOS Team was dedicated and committed throughout the project duration even though it was his/her first time.
The experience each gained was memorable.
It was gratifying to see the appreciation and happiness reflected on the faces of the people when they could see better with their new spectacles.

Roar ! Roar ! Roar !.

Reported by Lion Lily Tan

18 Nov 2015