Cambodian Team at BridgeBuilder Summit and Leadership Week

Vannak Pen, Community Hero in Tonloab (left), discusses challenges of his learning center
Vannak Pen, Community Hero in Tonloab (left), discusses challenges of his learning center

By Yourngchantreara Sao “Ra”, Country Manager Assistant in Cambodia

Taking place for the third time, this year’s BridgeBuilder Summit has featured a more diverse participation from Cambodia than ever. Whereas in the last years, only the country managers from Cambodia and Mongolia could join the summit for cost reasons, this time the participation from Asia was greatly extended: Besides Sokhan Khut and Amarsaikhan Purev, Country Managers for Cambodia resp. Mongolia, also Country Manager Assistants Yourngchantreara Sao “Ra” and Tunga Munkhjargal could participate. We could also invite four Community Heroes from our learning centers in Cambodia, Mongolia and – for the first time – Sri Lanka.

For the Cambodian team, the summit was a great opportunity to connect with the new BridgeBuilders (book champions, fellows) as well as to reconnect with existing ones. They came from a total of 20 countries! How are you, BridgeBuilders? We from Cambodia already miss you!

We have learnt a lot at the summit in the beautiful black forest in Germany. Besides the exciting experience of seeing snow for the first time, we could attend many good workshops which are highly relevant to our work. Of course, we could also participated in many fun team-building activities and great conversations with fellows, book champions and participants of our Capability Program. We really enjoyed to learn and grow with them together! We had an amazing time interacting, talking and sharing with one another and creating the unique BOOKBRIDGE Song Video together with Musikverein Wittelsbach. A big thank you to fellows Ruby and Alex as well as Community Hero Vannak for this musical bridge between all of us! We love it!

The summit was a beautiful experience for us, and we have had so many memories and stories to tell back home. We hope the next Summit will be featuring even more diverse bridge builders from Cambodia and Asia. What about inviting one or two students from the learning centers?

Cambodian Team joins Leadership Week in Switzerland

Community Hero Sujitha with Sokhan Khut and Carsten Rübsaamen
Community Hero Sujitha with Sokhan Khut and Carsten Rübsaamen

Before the BridgeBuilder Summit, the BOOKBRIDGE team gathered for Leadership Week in our office in Basel, Switzerland. The increased participation from Cambodia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka ensured that the needs of the communities at place are better reflected in our work.

The Leadership Week was a good opportunity for the Cambodian team to discuss burning strategic and practical issues facing BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia at large and our learning centers in particular. During the week, we discussed our Vision 2020, educational quality, the learning centers’ sustainability and independence, and overall BOOKBRIDGE’s structure. Our team has contributed many inputs and gained a lot of insights. This helps us as a team to find pragmatic ways to address many challenges we face in our work in Cambodia.

More expectations are mounting for our team and learning centers alike. During the workshops we decided on several results to be achieved until 2017. For the team spirit and motivation alike, it was very important to come together for one week and meet our colleagues from Mongolia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Switzerland. We had a great time and could grow together as a team – something that in an international team like ours doesn´t happen so often as travelling is expensive and very time-consuming. After the Leadership Week, we had the opportunity to meet many BridgeBuilders from around the world at BridgeBuilder Summit in the black forest. It was a very intense and productive time leading to some exhaustions (especially in the evenings) but everyone felt very energized and motived seeing all the BridgeBuilders pulling the same string.

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