A lot has happened to my writing workshop lately. For the past four years, I have been running a creative writing workshop at the educational shelter, Anjali House, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
From the start, I believed it was a wonderfully successful experience both for me and for my students. To say that I have learned as much as they have would be a great understatement. While teaching them fluency in English, conceptual thinking and self-esteem, I grew to know the intricacies of a country in a way I’ve never done before.
But after last year’s workshop, I was approached by the London office of the French NGO, Enfants du Mekong, to run my programme in their educational shelter in Banteay Chmar.
For many of my readers this will be old news, I know, since I wrote about it here.
But last month, while I was in Paris, I met with the directors of that NGO and we hatched a plan to incorporate the programme into their educational centres throughout all of Cambodia. And if that wasn’t enough, another NGO has also asked me to run the workshop for their school outside of Siem Reap this coming November. And there are suddenly other organisations contacting me, too.
I realised that it was now time to transform my workshop from being just me whistling my  happy tune, to a proper, formalised programme. I will now need to train new teachers to lead the workshop when I can’t be there myself (that process is already beginning). I need to have proper written agreements with the schools I interact with. I need to create training documents and write down what it is I do, how I do it, and what makes it different. And, alas, I know I need to protect it, both its conception and its execution.
And so…drum roll please…I now officially welcome you all to
Writing Through Cambodia
The website has just gone live. I’m very proud of it and I thank my web designer, Hugh Guiney, and my “resident artist”, Carol Burns, for all their hard work, for taking my amorphous wordy ideas and turning them into an understandable and attractive visual entity.
You know, when I came back from teaching the kids in Banteay Chmar, I went back to Anjali House to tell those kids about the experience. One of my students asked me how many kids there were in my workshop up there. And when I told him, he started to laugh and said, “So, Sue — are you going to teach all the kids in Cambodia?” Well, Kosal. I guess I am!
PS If anyone is interested in working with Writing Through Cambodia in any way, please do contact me!