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Annie Griffiths  |  April 25, 2013

Cambodia: Children in School

For children in a remote Cambodian village, school is exciting, a new world of letters and numbers that changes everything. Here and in many other parts of the world CWS works to build schools, infrastructure and greater awareness of the need for education, to ensure that children worldwide can do what children do best-learn.

Photo: Annie Griffiths/Ripple Effect Images

My work for CWS began nearly fifteen years ago, when I photographed the first CWS calendar.  It was a whirlwind trip with staff members in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Mozambique.  I even recall needing a driver in Maputo and finally bribing a guy to take me around if I bought him a new battery for his truck. 

There are so many things that have moved me over the years, working with CWS.  This is an organization with such heart and dedication.  But the most impressive quality that I have witnessed is the willingness to stay and work patiently with programs long after the initial crisis or need is met.  CWS is sometimes the first to arrive and, more importantly, often the last to leave.

Sustainability requires tremendous patience, and that patience is a core part of what I have seen CWS achieve across the globe. 

On my recent trip to photograph CWS partner programs in Cambodia, I was impressed with the efforts to help communities simply trust one another again.  Trust was almost completely destroyed during the Pol Pot regime, and restoring it is crucial in moving Cambodia forward.  I watched patient field workers teach communities how to understand leadership and create committees; set goals and work together to achieve them; build rice banks and drill wells and shore up rice fields destroyed during the war.

Over and over again, whether I am covering projects in Haiti, Cambodia, Kenya or Pakistan, I have witnessed CWS staff and partners patiently learn and listen and share with beneficiaries in the field, preparing them to become self-sufficient.

It has been a profound privilege to be among them.

Annie Griffiths, photojournalist, Ripple Effect Images

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