Sunday, September 9, 2012

Melinda's Update on Things to do at Wat Opot

Please check out and click on the link at what Melinda's update has to say about  Crafts and jewellery at Wat Opot....... I am so impressed how creative the children are.

Click here for link to 'Jewellery Time'

Wat Opot Trip September / October 2012

Hi to all and any of you following this blog.   Tomorrow on the 11th September I am flying out to my beloved Wat Opot Childrens community  in Southern Cambodia for 5 weeks. It has been two years nearly to the day that I was last there with the children teaching Jewellery making skills.  As you might be aware the length in between my last trip has been mostly caused by the impact of the Christchurch Earth Quakes of 2010/2011. 

This trip I will be taking with me  25 kilo's of beading supplies and wire. From the progress reports I have been getting from  Wat Opot  /   Jewellery making for profit and   Aunt Winnies Boutique , the craft project is moving forward with enthusiasm.  It is so humbling to see that something positive has come from this all.

It helps when you have the wonderful enthusiasm of Melinda Lies who has predominately based herself at Wat Opot for the past two and a half years and has been continuing to inject energy into this project at Wat Opot and into the lives of the children there. 

This time I will also be bringing with me another type of Creative Empowerment skills for the children to learn and have fun with through Sound and movement.  It should be a blast!

So stay tuned and I will try to update the blog with photo's of craft endeavors while I am there.

I would like to say a special thanks to Jena McKenzie who has donated to me $500NZ to be put towards supplies for the craft project.  It will be well spent on supplies on my arrival.

When I arrive I will spend 2-3 days in Phnom Penh and have arranged to meet up with Melinda so we can get to work buying more supplies and looking at more places that the children's Jewelley creations can go to be sold in Phnom Penh.   Then it will be off to see the children and get re acquainted with them.

So until later this week

Signing off to finish packing.....

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Getting Back On Track & Just Look at what they are doing at the Wat Opot Craft Project

Time is passing by and it has been awhile since I have posted anything on this blog regarding updates with the Craft Project . The reasons for this are, Earth Quakes, Over stretched , Exhaustion both mentally and physically ( last year) and was needing a total realignment in my intentions and directions of my heart.

So Here I Am!!!..... Rested, Realigned and Rearing to go with a stronger more passionate heart for the things that matter very much to me in this world...........The biggest one of them being Wat Opot Children's Community Southern Cambodia, and my continued efforts and resolve in helping give the children opportunities to keep growing their confidence and self empowerment through learning the skills of art and crafts and in turn, them sharing those learned confidence's and skills and inspiring other children with personal growth.
Since my last visit in October 2011 the children's craft room/shop project has had the most amazing support and direction added to it by a woman who I have the up most respect for 'Melinda Lies". Since my last visit in 2011 when it was supported that a permanent room could be  allocated  for the craft project, and with the team effort of children/volunteers (visiting at that time that) and one monk, the craft room was painted and sewing machines repaired and an area for the made Jewellery to be show cased was set up. It was a special time for us all at Wat Opot......Lots of learning, lots of fun and lots of smiles.

AND NOW...........Wow!! ......with the continued enthusiasm dedication and support of  the fabulous Melinda Lies and the wonderfully dedicated Wayne Matthysse (Co Founder of Wat Opot's Children Community), the Craft project has now moved into another stage of growth and development. Not only for the Children but for it's presence and positive contributions that Craft and Art room is giving to the live of the children and teenagers at Wat Opot's Childrens community. 

Today I have received yet another email of photo's and update's on how it is all progressing forward for them at Wat Opot and their Jewellery creations.   Here is a link to Melinda's  Blog that will update and fill you all in....please click on the following links to learn more:



And some more Photo's to look at of what these most Talented Children have been up to with their creativity.................. I am so in awe of them...........

An old saying goes " Give a man a fish and he will feed his family for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed his family for a life time".

Fish? Jewellery?  Same Same but different!








I look forward to my return in September / October of this year...........and hopefully with some Sponsorship as well..........
There is nearly 60 kilo's of donated Beads and Jewellery components to ship off tho Wat Opot's children's community over the next year.....so if anyone has some inspirations or idea's on how this could be achieved then please email me : Fiona Newsome    feebs@clear.net.nz

Thank You for taking the time to read and share in this experience of what Wat Opot's children are up to in their part of the world.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creative Empowerment Project Cambodia

Hi Please watch the following video link to see what CEP is about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIvTlN8rRwI

Hoping this will inspire you to become a follower of this blogsiteBecome a follwer today and stay connected to Wat Opot.

Stay tuned to future posts on this brand new blogsite.......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buy a New Zealand Paua Flower and Help Wat Opot Cambodia.


Hi all ........ This is a great opportunity to not only own, but buy as a gift...The Original Paua flower. These (Hand made in New Zealand) beautiful creations, especially designed and made to help Wat Opot, come as a brooch or in a bunch of flowers....And you can even buy a Single stem! Every one should have one...surely......

When you place an order for a Flower and pay for it via the internet ...Wat Opot Children's Community Cambodia will get all the money directly.

To Order simply click on this link to http://pauaflowerpower.blogspot.com/
  • Choose from the Product list...
  • Send your order via email to one myself or Choose one of the other options on the Contact details list...........
  • Await for an email with the total amount to pay in your country's dollars......
  • Pay your order amount via credit card to Wat Opot's Paypal option. Putting "Flowers for Cambodia" as a reference.
  • Once I have confirmation from Wat Opot I will send your beautiful Order to you via the post. I suspect this should take no longer than 5 days maximum after the day of posting it from New Zealand....( unless you might live in Timbuktu....then that might take 6 days??)
I know Wat Opot would really appreciate you purchasing one or more of these flowers.........So with out delay...ORDER NOW!

Thank you ...................

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's Get Playing......

So with the work room ready and tools materials from the 2009 visit with materials supplied from this visit.......we got the beads out..........and the children came.................


First one by one, then two by two, then by the mass..................fortunately Melinda was on hand with helping the flow of play with the little ones (her speciality) and me the bigger kids ( what I find easy). I was worried that the children from 3 - 5 were at risk at putting these beads up
noses and or down ears.........which I was sure Wayne would not have been too happy about having to fish out.

All was good and the only problem was, with most of the children, that they tended put Beads in their pockets ( for later ....of course). After a few days of passively dealing with this, Melinda and myself started the FBI game and all the children either voluntarily turned their pockets out on leaving the craft room or their pockets were patted down for bead contraban........ Melinda and myself even let the children pat our pockets down too...just so they could see it as a game



Some like Wey here, just had that adorable guilty look that gave them away every time..............

"Who Me??"



The plan was that they could play and make a necklace or Bracelet - one for Wat Opot shop and one for themselves.
Even though this was a playing situation I felt it was good to give guidance to them about structure in the craft room and how they can help out Wat Opt through having fun and creating.


Here is Rit telling us, when he was questioned on how many items had he made for himself.................it was either that or he was blowing us off with the western style fingers......

I truely believe that the first option was what he was doing.............but if you look at what he has on him.....there is 3 pieces of jewellery.................



Okay Okay...... the real answer to this is that, this is what they do in Asia when they are having a camera pionted at them.........its Asia's version for the peace symbol.


We spent about 4 days with the children just playing and making.................bare in mind even though we put up on the display boards even the attempts of the little ones....we did have to recycle some of theirs from time to time.

The time used supervising them with this kind of creativity was full on and at times tiring.....but when you see their faces light up because they have not just made a bracelet but actually were part of a group of children all having fun and creating, and creating something that they chose to put together the way they wanted..........its all just so worth it.

This is why I get so passionate about helping the children at Wat Opot with craft.............this is not just an activity to bust bordom........creating and making and discovering through play is of vital importance to a childs development. I also see its benefits as an Art therapy. In this case you could see many of the children growing confidence through making jewellery and anything else they attempted to make with beads,wire and twine.

Setting Up the Craft Room 2010

Liark and myself painting the window frames
The very helpful Monk!!!

One of our special helpers was one of the Buddist Monks from the Wat next door to the Childrens Community. I first saw him standing outside and watching the children painting.....he lingered for just a few minutes and then the next thing I know he is standing in the room and studying how Melinda and myself were painting the window frames. I managed to catch his eye and smile at him. Well ....that's all it took...it appeared. In a flash this monk grab a paint brush and a paint tin lid with a large blob of paint on it...and started painting the window frames.

He stayed with us for maybe 1 hour and then made his leave. Melinda and I were grinning from ear to ear.....as you rarely see the Monks out of the Wat let alone mucking in and helping......Wow we felt privileged.

The children that came into help ...fairly much came and went when they wanted ............but they did a great job of getting the paint onto the wall and window frames ( with the creativity of sometimes painting the floor with splats here and there).




The sewing machines were in Bad state of affairs.....and after picking the ones with the most remaining parts on them ......I manage to arrange for my Cambodian friend from Opot village ...to take me to see the sewing repair man or people. So in her truck we went and just 10 minutes trip away we arrived to the family who fixes sewing machines. We arranged to get them to come out to Wat Opot to fix the 4 machines and 1 overlocker that I had choosen to be rescued.
And low and bold they turned up the very next day and with out consultation ....inspected them and promptly took them away. I arrived at the room to see the machines (not their tables) being carted off on the back of a moto trailer, not sure if they were ever to be seen again. Hmmm
But the very next day they were brought back to us, all restored to their former Glory. $58 US dollars was the repair price..........which of course I paid and thought it was a good deal......Now to find a sewing teacher??????


I aimed to make part of the craft room into a shop area. This is where the jewellery that the children make for sale can be displayed. So after rescuing some fixtures that I was able to use for this area.....I arranged for Peeip the handy man to make up 2 large display boards that were free standing and could be used either side if required. So Peeip sent me off on another adventure to the main town of Bati. With Arun's help again and her trusty Toyota truck!! we set off to go see the wood man.......we ended up going to two wood men to see if we could get a good price for the wood but it turned out that when a Westerner is standing there prices seems to be high. So $89 US dollars later we had all the wood and Bamboo matting that Peeip requested and I also managed to pick up some plastic baskets for Beads and Materials and 2 lock up tins and some floor mats ( that are really Cambodian sleeping mats)...so I did bring in an element of Western world by putting them on the floor for when the little kids
were playing with beads on them.

We were ready to start!!! Let the beads be free and the children come forth.................and believe me they did!!!!!

How this Journey Began

Fund Raising Journey 2008 / 2009

Hi My Name is Fiona,
I am ‘FEEBS’ Paua flowers & Flowers For Cambodia NZ ’
In August 2007 after reading an article in the Readers Digest NZ I created and followed a great opportunity to visit Project Wat Opot in the Takeo Provence Cambodia.
Whilst there I was so inspired by what they were trying achieving there I knew I had to return to help with what skills I had, and to share them with them.

To my knowledge Project Wat Opot up until January 2007 was an orphanage for children, some of whom were dying from the HIV virus. For 8 years prior to 2007 Wat Opot saw many of the children and some of their parents succumb to the virus.

January 2007 brought a new trail medication which then gave an opportunity for for the children to have prolonged life. Project Wat Opot was faced with a new challenge with the children that were HIV positive, it was impossible for them to return to a normal community. Discrimination and Stigma.
They have now changed their status as an orphanage to a ‘Community’ with a vision to be completely self sufficient.
They are doing this by welcoming the learning of any trades that can offer them the potential to bring money and to learn a trade that can help support their community.

The Trade that I can teach them is jewellery making for the commercial market of which I have a vast range of experience in this field.

What I am aiming to achieve in my time there in July 2009 is not only to teach them techniques of the jewellery trade but to look at their own resources and help develop some products that can make and will be sellable to the rapidly growing tourist trade.

I now have another passionate person joining me in going to Project Wat Opot . Marijke Lups is an Arts and Crafts teacher in Chirstchurch New Zealand and is completely and utterly inspired about what is happening at Wat Opot as I was when I first read about Wat Opot.
We fly out for Cambodia from New Zealand on the 13th July 2009 and will be at the project for about 5 weeks. While there we will be teaching our skills of Art and crafts and how to be creativily resourceful with what resources they have to make some stunning jewelly and Craft products.

Follow my journey with Wat Opot ...read the posts I have added below to keep you updated.
Check out their Wat Opot's new website and be inspired yourself
http://www.watopot.org/