THE generosity of the Jindabyne Central School (JCS) community, combined with the hard work and compassion of a local teenager, has resulted in a new home being built for a family in Cambodia struggling to survive.
15-year-old Oliver Shvetsoff raised just shy of $1,900 in the lead-up to his volunteer trip to Cambodia in April, mostly from a mufti day held at JCS.
The money was enough to build one house and two water wells in a village in the Kampong Chnang Province, two hours drive north of Phnom Penh.
Oliver, a Year 10 student at JCS, was one of a group of 46 who spent the April school holidays on the house-building project with the Tabitha Foundation.
In total, the group Oliver volunteered with built 12 homes and 12 water wells.
They travelled from Phnom Penh to the village each day and worked in temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius.
The oldest Australian volunteer in the group was 74 and the youngster was just six.
"We drank a lot of water and hammered a lot of nails and all the while the families receiving a house looked on with big smiles," Oliver said.
Once the houses were built, it was the first time the 12 families, with a total of 61 children, had spent a night off the ground.
"The village is an extremely poor community in desperate need of assistance," Oliver said.
"Families watched as their houses were built and showed their appreciation with hugs and tears."
Oliver said the experience had been life changing and one he would never forget.
"I will return to Cambodia again one day," he said.
"I would love the chance to build some more homes for Cambodians."
Donations to the house-building project can be made at www.tabitha.org.au.