Monday, 15 July 2013

The inspiring story of Green Gecko Kids

This is amongst the most emotional stories I have ever heard in my life. The story of admirable people who founded Green Gecko Project and the extraordinary effort of the former beggar kids forced me to do something for them. It’s not the most miserable story in the world as there are a lot of unhappy and unlucky people outside but this is the most meaningful story to me. It’s the story of compassion and eternal vitality of human beings.

A touching video of a story narated by a Green Gecko Kid

The story begins from the paradox between the luxury travel city of Siem Reap, home to renowned Angkor temples and truly sumptuous hotels and resorts versus the agony of the poor living and earning on the streets. There are hundreds of families with small children living in extreme poverty or homelessness due to war injury and social evils. The innocent kids have to beg on the streets to earn money for their families, some are even hit and abused by their own parents in the distress of hunger. 

Green Gecko Kids before being helped by Tania

The images of the tiny beggars holding in their arms a smaller sibling crying bitter tears or being faint for the hunger deeply touched the warm heart of Tania Palmer, an Australian-born lady who went to Cambodia after her inside calling for the children. Tania wanted to help. She wanted to give the kids something that could not be taken away from them. The simplest solution was to feed them.

Poor beggar kids on Siem Reap's streets
Helped by a nice Cambodian guy Rem Poum, Tania determined on bringing a practical support to the poor kids. Tania is an angel in the innocent eyes of the kids, they thought that she would comeback her country soon, however she and Rem got married and the story of the Green Gecko Project was officially narrated. Since the day Tania and Rem decided to take care over the kids, they know that they have to face a lot of difficulties and be under a great burden of responsibility for the kids’ future. They had promised that they would never let them go.

On very first days, it was very hard to find a place for the kids to eat, sleep and learn. Green Gecko Project actually started as a single table of six on the pavement at a local restaurant, this grew to many tables being joined together to feed sometimes more than 30 street children. 

On the first days, beggar kids were fed in local street restaurant
Having been refused by a local English school for the reason that the kids were dirty, stinky and noisy and that the parents of "normal" children would not like it if they were in the same class, Tania and Rem are much more decisive to create a safe “home” for the kids, they hired one room and one teacher for one hour per day. 
Beggar kids began smiling when they were taken care by Tania
"We didn't have high expectations initially but the kids proved us wrong. We expected about 12 to come, but 25 did. We expected the numbers to fall but instead they grew, sometimes up to 42 per day! It was evident after the first week that we needed to split the class in two" – Tania said.

The first class of Green Gecko Project
The kids who used to beg and live on the streets turned out to have great passion of learning and proving themselves. They have been striving for their better future when someone gives them a chance to change their lives. However, the more successful it became, the more evident the limitations became. "There was no running water, there was nowhere to for them to bathe, feed them properly, brush their teeth or receive medical treatment... or even a place to just hang out and play" Tania said. Green Gecko members have to stand together to build their better place and run their program.  

After 8 years of foundation and development, Green Gecko is the real house for more than 70 former street kids. It’s so meaningful and encouraging that they have changed their lives totally at least till today. From the images of poor dirty children with sad eyes and scared face on the streets, they are now Green Gecko Kids who are being taught English and vocational training program. They are aware of that they were late for school for several years; some kids will have finished their learning program when they are 23, 29 or even 32 years old, but they believe a bright future is waiting for them after the age. Green Gecko with its hard mission will help them to realize their dreams. This is just the beginning of the Gecko story and they need a bright end for all the kids, which need help from many supporters from outside. That’s why Exotic Voyages is running with this program for Green Gecko Project. 
Much change has been made in the lives of the kids
A huge difference achieved by Green Gecko Project

Although the kids began to be happy now under the caring of Green Gecko project, to achieve the better life today, that big family with more than 70 children and only several supporters has made a huge and tireless attempt, overcome a lot of difficulties such as lack of food, clothes, teachers, classes, etc and they are still facing with the big daily question how they can maintain a decent living for the disadvantaged kids. 
Green Gecko Kids are reparing their own table for studying
The kids are such incredible human beings. They inspire the Green Gecko members daily with their strength, courage and their innate ability to roll with the punches and come up with a beaming smile. Everybody would like to maintain their smile together, not to let them come back to the scary past. To do so, Exotic Voyages will stand by them as much as possible to help them fulfill their daily wish list, from simply shampoo or toothpaste for a month to the bicycle helmets for them to go to school. Let’s donate to help continue the great story of Green Gecko Project for the future of the kids.

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