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£615raised of £1,000 target by 16 supporters

Weʼre raising £1,000 to help my trip to support counselling development and training in Cambodia

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I am seeking financial support to assist my journey to Cambodia to undertake a professional and educational visit to support the development of counselling training and counselling provision in that country.

During the last eighteen months I have offered support and advice, via Skype, to Lynne Barnett, the founder and Head of the Center for Health Counselling at the University of Puthisastra, Phnomh Penh in Cambodia.

Lynne qualified in counselling at Leeds Beckett University, UK, previously having had a career in nursing, midwifery and as a national trainer in health promotion. She has worked voluntarily in Cambodia from 2005, previously as Counselling manager for a non-governmental organisation. Her focus then was mostly on health care and counselling provision for rescued sexually trafficked children.

As you may be aware, Cambodia is a post-genocide nation, having suffered the terrible consequences of the Khmer Rouge that brought death, torture, rape and terror to the whole population between 1975 and 1979. Whole families died from execution, starvation, disease and overwork. A BBC website notes that the regime claimed the lives of up to two million people. This period of history was represented in the 1980’s Hollywood film, ‘The Killing Fields’. Cambodia is a country whose citizens have experienced living in the worst of conditions; dire hunger, suffering, humiliation, ultimate evil, murder and degradation. In addition, there was psychological indoctrination of young people, families were separated, identities and individuality erased from society, money abolished and replaced by collectivism, distrust and dehumanization.

Though there are now some ‘counsellors’ mainly working for N.G.O’s within the country, the majority of these have received very little, if any, training. Often, such appointments may be just given the title ’counsellor’ , having only been on courses of five days duration! Frequently these colleagues will be appointed to work in small charitable organisations within the country, and then function without any resources of professional support.

Mindful of the immense volume of inter-generationally traumatized people within the country and therefore recognizing the considerable demand for the development of a mental health service accessible for all, Lynne has successfully negotiated for and established a new university based Diploma course which commenced last academic year in 2017, (the only one of its nature in that country.)

Ably assisted by two young Cambodian counselling psychologists, Lynne was able to locate support to bring them to the UK this last summer where they spent a stimulating week visiting the counselling department at Leeds Beckett University, liaising with staff and students there. In addition, they visited the national office of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy offices where they had a series of meetings to discuss their plans for the development of counselling within Cambodia, seeking the assistance of the accumulated experience held within this professional body. Lynne is keen to ensure the continuation of the profession in Cambodia beyond the training course she is offering, a course which is currently accredited through the university. She is thus trying to envisage and grow a professional framework for mental health services through the medium of counselling and psychotherapy within Cambodia. She is keen to encourage a greater awareness of the links between physical and mental health with colleagues within the allied health professions.

Lynne has kindly invited me to Cambodia later this spring where I shall be involved in offering some ‘teaching’, consultancy and support, directly with the training department as well as delivering presentations at a major one day conference. Consultation work will focus on the consideration of the future directions and plans for the course and the emerging profession within the wider framework of the needs of the country as a whole.

The visit is scheduled for a two week duration and whilst my work contribution will be purely voluntary, this invitation is to explore the possibility of raising some funds to assist my return travel and associated expenses. Any money raised additional to my expenses incurred with be offered directly to the training course to purchase contemporary books and other resources for the course library.

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Colin Lago

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    Page last updated on: 2/16/2019 21.21



    • fevronia christodoulidi

      fevronia christodoulidi

      Feb 16, 2019

      Very worthwhile Colin! Cant wait to hear about your experience there!


    • with warmest wishes, karen

      with warmest wishes, karen

      Feb 13, 2019

      I wish you and your fellow cambodian colleagues and friends well in your ventures together!


    • Gill Pirt

      Gill Pirt

      Feb 10, 2019

      Brilliant you are involved at this early stage Colin. Great you can put your energy, experience & knowledge to such good use. Countless people will benefit over coming years. Enjoy the challenge!

    • Sue


      Jan 30, 2019

      Hope the trip goes well


    • Chris


      Jan 28, 2019

      Good luck Colin!


    • Jim


      Jan 27, 2019

      Good luck with this, Colin


    • Jenny Bell

      Jenny Bell

      Jan 25, 2019

      Safe journey Colin.


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    Colin Lago

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