background image
ounding nails and painting
walls is something Middlesex
student volunteers have been
doing locally for several years
during Alternative Spring Break with
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell
(HHGL). Last fall, two MCC students
raised the bar and traveled to Cambodia
to construct houses as part of Habitat for
Humanity International's Khmer
Harvest Build.
Jared Blake and Brittany McGuire
joined 300 Habitat volunteers from
around the world to help build 22 houses
and a community center for homeless
Cambodian families living in a
municipal dump outside Phnom Penh.
Built in just five days, the new
community in Oudong also features a
community farm, chicken sheds and a
fish pond.
The MCC students were among a group
of six volunteers from HHGL to travel
to Cambodia. Their trip was coordinated
through the Middlesex Service-Learning
Department and International
Fellowship Program, with financial
support from the MCC Foundation.
"Habitat International's Khmer Harvest
Build illustrates how powerful combining
international service and learning can
be," said Cynthia Lynch, MCC's
Coordinator of Service-Learning. "This
trip was a wonderful opportunity for our
students. Traveling abroad and
volunteering in another country is a life-
changing experience."
The trip came together quickly, in just a
matter of months, Lynch explained. She
learned last winter that the local Habitat
group was planning to send workers to
Cambodia, and immediately recognized
it would be a great Service-Learning
"The college has a large Cambodian
population and we have been deepening
our relationship with HHGL, so I
jumped at the chance to get our students
involved," said Lynch. "Once I got the
OK from the college, I applied for a
grant from the MCC Foundation in
March," she said. "In June, we were
awarded enough money to send two
students to Cambodia."
The next step was recruiting student
applicants and selecting two to make the
trip but it was summer and not many
students were on campus. Undaunted,
Habitat for Humanity International
Building New Homes for the
Homeless in Cambodia
Middlesex students Brittany McGuire (left) and Jared
Blake traveled to Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity
International's Khmer Harvest Build.
Prior to their trip, our
students studied the
Cambodian culture and
connected directly with
MCC's local Cambodian
population. This academic
component, combined with
service in Phnom Penh,
greatly broadened their
global perspective and
enhanced their sense of
civic responsibility.
Cynthia Lynch
MCC's Coordinator
of Service-Learning
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