CAP9: When Visions become Tangible

The opening speech
Bona Vin, full time English teacher at the learning center and local CAP9 candidate, held the opening speech together with Clara Maingi (right).

This week, team of our 9th Capability Program has opened our new learning center in Chreav, Cambodia. In this post, the participants describe their feelings and impressions.

Our experiences during eight phenomenal days in a nutshell: Transform visions into reality. Achieve results and discover more to do. Connect with a dream, their people and create new dreams together. Leave enriched to grow in every sense. Hallelujah and Let it Be! These are statements that summarize a unique week for a unique CAP9 team, a week of growth in every sense.

Most of us were visiting this unique country for the first time ever. The welcome by the team South and their coaches Sokhan and Chanthorn was warm and vivid: They showed us local markets, a Buddhist monastery, a typical coffee shop, a typical sport activity – tug of war – in one of the state schools and finally, introducing us to the reason why we are here: the Learning Center in Chreav! And last but not least our home stay (hostel) contributed to touch this country: Waking up every day was so easy as at 5 AM every day loud speakers flooded us with Cambodian music. Either to praise heaven, celebrate weddings or to say goodbye in funerals. Specifically, we perceived that the funeral music, is perfect to motivate souls to leave this planet: the sound was indeed terrible!

Curious children in front of the newly openend learning center
Curious children in front of the newly openend learning center

The first two and a half days were dedicated to the first milestone: Getting the learning center ready for the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday at 8 AM. We cleaned and painted rooms, transformed them with small changes into real class rooms, installed water pipelines, developed big signs praising the offerings of our school, established the library with the existing English books, purchased funny toys and materials for the day care room, made gardening and environmental improvements, painted complicated large pictures and funny attractive motives, etc. And all based on CAP9-self–and-agile-organized teams; perfectly orchestrated by Lisa, Kim & Eleanor, thanks!

To inspire the audience during the inauguration and to set a strong signal for women in this country, we decided consciously to let Clara do the inauguration speech. She did it and she touched all our hearts. Congratulations! After the inauguration event the team went to a very well deserved free afternoon, with wellness, swimming pool and motorbike adventure to countryside, which motivated Lisa and John to test the Cambodian soil.

The next two working days were dedicated to the next milestone: Get the learning center ready for the critical starting period when team North has long gone. We dedicated our collective intelligence to mainly two questions:

  1. How to make the learning center successful & sustainable (run the business)?
  2. How to create social impact (social entrepreneurship)?
The CAP9 team in one of the classrooms
The CAP9 team in one of the classrooms

We worked on the topics: IT, library, legal, financial plan & reporting, quality, marketing, hygiene and waste. Our “guest – speakers”, Sanha and Monika from BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia, supported us with learnings from other learning centers and on the meaning and content of quality.

The pace of both days was again very high and the team achieved brilliant results. To mention three:

  1. Team quality conducted a truly important workshop together with the teachers and Ravy to define and measure quality. To strengthen the identity of the learning center they developed the mission & vision of it.
  2. Team marketing initiated visits to the schools in Chreav to win customers. Their key marketing message was the power of connection: the learning center is connected and supported by and with the world. To express this all “white skin Team North members” were sent together with Ravy to speak to the children and to distribute flyers. The impact was strong. Unique experience for team north and unique sales event for the center.
  3. Team IT installed all what could be done without the content of the container that is still in customs. In addition, they setup the connection and process to enable Da Vid, the local IT hero, to install and manage the network, router and IT as soon as it arrives.

On the last day of the on-site module, we visited temples in Angkor Archeological Park. Undiscovered Archaeologist Sokhan gave us an impressive tour through several temples, culminating with Angkor Wat. Thanks, Sokhan!

All the efforts of the weak were strengthened by long nights, singing Hallelujah and the endless counting of empty bottles. This culminated in a glamorous and exciting farewell dinner, singing Let-it-be on the stage of the “Bierbar”. Excellent experience! Especially for Eleanor, who survived at least 4 times the crowd-crying-singing of her happy-birthday song!

Team, we did it! Each of us grew in this week, each of us made an impact, together we are energy, together we are the learning center. Thanks & Congratulations!

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