Nine West Coast Eagles players will travel to Cambodia in October to build homes for a remote village located two hours from Phnom Penh.
Thanks to the support of official partners Northern Star Resources and Hawaiian, Brayden Ainsworth, Brendon Ah Chee, Hamish Brayshaw, Fraser McInnes, Jake Waterman, Jarrod Brander, Josh Rotham, Josh Smith and Oscar Allen will build 20 houses for underprivileged families from a village in the nation’s Kampong Chhenang Province.
They will be joined on the philanthropic expedition by senior coach Adam Simpson, three representatives from Northern Star Resources – including Executive Chairman Bill Beament – and several West Coast Eagles staff.
The travelling party will also visit the Sunrise Childrens’ Village and learn about Cambodia’s tragic past by touring the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - a former high school turned into a torture and execution centre - and Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, where millions of Cambodians were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979.
West Coast Eagles head of development Gavin Bell said the group was eager to get on the tools and help those in need.
“Thanks to the generous support of Northern Star Resources and Hawaiian, our players and staff have been afforded a rare opportunity to change the lives of people living in the province of Kampong Chenang,” Bell said.
“Our goal is to build 20 houses over two days. We will be working alongside families who have saved for five years to raise the US$25 contribution that they must make towards their house. The WCE team will build the families’ dream home.
“The West Coast Eagles, Northern Star Resources and Hawaiian have contributed the balance for the house build, which is $2000 per house.
“Kampong Chenang is one of the poorest regions of Cambodia and it is very susceptible to flooding. By building these stilted houses, we are giving the children of these families a 70 per cent better chance of completing primary school. Without the safety of a proper home and clean water, these kids will never make it to school. A safe house and clean water brings school participation rates from as low as 15% to over 85%.
“We also believe our players will learn many valuable lessons from their tours of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Khmer Rouge Killing Fields.
“The resilience of the Cambodian people, who reclaimed and rebuilt their nation after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, is truly inspiring.”
West Coast has again partnered with the Tabitha Foundation - a charity that has improved the lives of more than 500,000 Cambodians - for the fifth instalmant of its bi-annual community service tour.
The people of Cambodia have won the hearts of the West Coast Eagles and those closely connected to the club, as demonstrated in the number of initiatives that have snowballed since that first trip including over $102,000 raised to fund the construction of two schools and the refurbishing of two school buildings; multiple visits by mothers of players actively involved in fundraising for children with special needs at the orphanages, the schools and for the construction of the Nokor Tep Women's Hospital; as well as multiple house building trips involving West Coast Eagles corporate members, staff and Directors.
This trip will take the total number of houses built by Eagles players to 100 since the initial 2010 house-build; providing secure, life-saving shelter for more than 750 people, including over 500 children.