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Ridgewood club seeks to improve lives of children in Cambodia


decades ago damage from Communist murderer Pol Pot still effects Cambodia today

Ridgewood club seeks to improve lives of children in Cambodia

APRIL 7, 2014    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2014, 12:04 AM

If the world were black and white, Cambodia might almost seem like two different places.

One, which suffered a genocide not too long ago – when nearly two million people, more than 20 percent of the population, were lost; the result of a communist regime’s extreme ideology targeting intellectuals and professionals, among others.

And another country filled with people known for their warmth and positivity.

Yet it’s all Cambodia. And, as unlikely as a connection between Ridgewood and this country may seem to a village outsider, it’s a place that has become near-and-dear to the hearts of several students from Ridgewood. The students have been engaging in an ongoing district-wide effort, started in 2007, to help Cambodia move forward. Ridgewood children have even made annual visits to the country, including a visit this past February.

Initiated by Ridgewood parents and later also led by educators and students, the effort is also raising global awareness and cross-cultural appreciation in an affluent school district.

“It’s so nice to give back – for us living this luxury lifestyle in Ridgewood, especially,” said George Washington Middle School (GW) eighth grader Ireland Horan. “Because honestly, even if you don’t need help, you’re going to need it some day.”

Horan, who has seen videos of Cambodia, but has not yet visited, noted that the Cambodian people she has seen “have nothing” and yet “they couldn’t be happier.”

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