It’s funny thinking about where various years begin, isn’t it?
The school year here in the UK starts in September, the tax year starts in April and the calendar year starts in January.
For Bopha School Project, it feels like the year begins now in mid Jan, when Spring is just around the corner and the next March project is beckoning.
To begin this new year properly, we wanted to look at everything that has occurred between January 2022 and January 2023 and from that, get clear about the next 12 months ahead. What worked, what didn’t, what would be good to improve and how those improvements can be made.
Here’s a little whistle stop tour of everything that’s happened:
JANUARY 2022: BIG BOPHA BONANZA RAFFLE
This time last year Bethan and Adam were gearing up for the Big Bopha Bonanza Raffle to which Some incredible donations were made by local Isle of Wight and mainland businesses.
We had a yacht trip for eight people (with lunch) that was worth over 1K. We had weekend accommodation at the Spyglass and a fifty pound food voucher. We had family Camp Bestival tickets, a Le Blanc Cycling experience worth 2.2K and the list goes on!
It was mega.
And raised an amazing 5k for the project.
We were mind-blown at the generosity Of the people who were involved.
FEBRUARY 2022: BOPHA SCHOOL OF ROCK, hosted by Stewart Woodward and The Foo Fighterz
Next came the Bopha School of Rock night, headed up by Stewart Woodward of the Foo Fighterz and his talented musician friends. An epic blast was had by all who came and we just about managed to get up on stage and articulate something about the project before the gin and tonics kicked in.
The night raised an amazing 1.8k for the project - and we are excited to announce that the 2nd Bopha School of Rock night will be taking place on February 24th 2023!!
That’s sooooon! Details to follow Soon.
MARCH 2022: THE FIRST BOPHA SCHOOL PROJECT TAKES PLACE!
With monies raised from the raffle, the music night, a fab music nights called Bops For Bopha that happened in Dec 2021 and an art auction, we were able to deliver the Bopha School Menstrual Hygiene Education in not one, but two schools.
We employed two local women to stitch and produce the sanitary towels, polio disabled workers to stitch the back packs, a translator and Cambodia facilitator to deliver the programme and also seven local builders to construct the latrines. The education went out to 45 girls aged 12-18 and 6 teachers in the schools. The water tower and latrine are obviously there for everyone, but what’s important is that the privacy and washing facilities would allow the girls to get back to school during their period week.
Wah lah! The latrines.
AUGUST: CREATION OF THE BOPHA SCHOOL PROJECT FILM, produced by Bethan and Warren Simmonds and interviews filmed by ProCam
Compelled to capture what had happened in Cambodia in March and as a way to show where the money we raised had been spent, Bethan worked with Warren Simmonds to produce a short film that documented the Bopha School Project. The film can be seen by going to the Notice Board page and scrolling down.
Over the last few months Bethan has spoken to a variety of documentary producers to discuss future plans to document the Bopha Project as it unfolds. Watch this space.
SEPTEMBER: REDESIGN OF THE BOPHA SCHOOL WEBSITE, designed by Toby Sleight and illustrated by Bethan
During September we worked and to get the Bopha School website overhauled and snazzed up - the result of which you can see here.
NOVEMBER: BOPHA SCHOOL OF ARTS night, hosted by Bethan and Adam at the Ventnor Arts Club
Our biggest fund-raiser yet occurred in November - the Bopha School Of Arts Night. Bethan and Adam gathered some of the island’s most prestigious artists who donated extremely generous original pieces of art. These were then auctioned at a ticketed event that took place in Ventnor at the Ventnor Arts Club. Ticket buyers were treated to a five course meal prepared by Adam and his team from the The True Food Kitchen and a beautiful backdrop of music was provided by Simon Davies.
The night made over ten thousand pounds - enough to fund our next project this March.
And that brings us pretty much up to now - January 2023.
JANUARY: VISIONING THE MARCH 2023 TRIP
The March 2023 Bopha School Project is taking place in a tiny school, deep in the jungle in Siem Reap.
We are taking out only a tiny skeleton team from the UK, with the emphasis of the delivery being on training Lyna our Cambodian facilitator to deliver the education independently. Bethan will also be there with a translator to support and guide the session. We’ll be delivering a piece of curriculum that has been adapted from the education used by Eco Femme in India and tailored to the Khmer people. Bethan has looked at feedback and issues that arose during the first delivery last year and has further tailored the education based on those observations.
The build itself will involve constructing the water purification tower And installing the water purification system. We will also install a solar powered pulley system for the water from the well to reach the purification tower and finally, we will construct the latrine.
One thing that became obvious in the previous school last March was the need to provide some sort of enrichment for the rest of school children whilst the girls are receiving the menstrual hygiene education.
At one point we thought that we had a group of the artists from the art auction with us - and Bethan got very excited about putting on a massive art project with the kids - but sadly the artists are now unable to come.
Instead, we have something else up our sleeve! But you’ll have to wait to find out what this new plan is. Hehe
For now, thanks for reading - and we’ll be back soon with updates on the next Bopha School Of Rock night!