‘Major upgrades’ still needed at orphanage

Rotary Club of South Surrey members hope federal, international grants will boost fundraising.

Brian O'Ruairc was in Cambodia last month to check in on an orphanage that the Rotary Club of South Surrey has taken under its wing. Below

Brian O'Ruairc was in Cambodia last month to check in on an orphanage that the Rotary Club of South Surrey has taken under its wing. Below

Brian and Deirdre O’Ruairc light up when they share the success stories of children who’ve spent much of their young lives at the Cambodian orphanage that has been a focus of fundraising by the Rotary Club of SouthSurrey.

One has grown up to become a midwife; another will soon be an architect; and yet another is training to be a tour guide.

“That is a big success story,” said Brian, during an interview at the couple’s White Rock home last week.

“The funding that has gone in there has been very effective and very positive,” added Deirdre. “It’s been a worthwhile project.”

Brian first visited the orphanage, located in Battambang, Cambodia, with fellow Rotarian Stuart Wilson in the spring of 2014.

At that time, the compound that 38 children called home founded in 2007 by the Amsterdam-based Float Foundation was little more than three tin-roof shacks.

Children with treatsThrough fundraising, improvements over the years since have included a major overhaul of the girls’ dormitory windows and doors were installed, indoor toilets added and dividing walls put in upgrades to the boys’ dormitory, and construction of a proper kitchen, complete with tiled floors and a stainless steel sink and table.

But “major upgrades” are still needed, said Brian, who travelled to Cambodia last month to check in on the facility and returned with a lengthy list of projects.

“I was just going to check that they had used the money that we sent them for what we sent it for,” he said.

But during the visit, he realized there wasn’t anyone properly trained to do the work.

The list of 14 projects includes such tasks as replacing desktops that are coming apart, building a wall to separate the children’s eating/study area, fixing rotting-out posts and adding closets to the dormitories.

But, Brian said, most pressing is the need to improve the orphanage’s electrical and sewage systems.

Currently, two washrooms behind the girls’ dormitory drain into the ground next to a well; and, pumps are burning out due to shoddy electrical. Much existing wiring hangs loose or is not safely secured.

He hopes to return to the orphanage next January to oversee the work none of which, he emphasized, is done without consultation with orphanage administrators, staff and the area Rotary club.

“We don’t do anything unless they want it,” Brian said.

The O’Ruaircs are hoping Rotary can raise $10,000 locally for the work; and that it will be supported by federal government funding and a global grant from Rotary International.

“Between the Rotary grant and Canadian government, we could turn that into $60,000,” Deirdre said.

For information on donating, contact the O’Ruaircs at 604-538-6765 or Rotary Club of South Surrey presidentPatrick Hahn at 604-671-0443.


Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read