Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who will? - the airport will

I love a story to warm the cockles of your heart and here is a beauty from the Who Will NGO that is looking after the welfare of orphans and disadvantaged children in Phnom Penh and will soon move to new premises in Kompong Chhnang. This is from their newsletter and is a wonderful example of people going out of their way to enthuse others. Top top marks to the Phnom Penh International Airport crew.

Giving Children Wings
It was the best of times (to half quote Charles Dickens) the day Cambodia International Airports opened their arms to the children of Who Will. What we asked for was a tour of the airport and its various internal divisions in order to give the children an insight into what career opportunities are available. What they were given was much more. On arrival they were met by Monirath Sok, Secretary to the Operations Manager and Samnang Chey, Assistant Manager Operations. Each child was given a bright yellow Visitor jacket and an airport pass and then all were taken to a briefing room where Florent de Warren, Deputy Operation Manager - Airport Services, told them the itinerary and the 'rules of engagement' - be aware of other passengers, stay together, don't run, etc. They were taken to a Check In desk and each given a boarding pass on Flight WW001 of Who Will Air, through Security, into the VIP Lounge and then past Immigration onto a bus, driven by the patient and informative Naro You, which took us to the Control Tower. Here they were briefed by Bunkong Nov on all the instruments, the operation of a control tower and what requirements were necessary to become an Air Traffic Controller.

Boarding the bus again, they were taken to an aircraft of Indochine Airlines - a 737-200 - where they were awaited by two pilots Sivanthan Douong and Sophea Uy. Each child was shown his or her seat, according to the boarding pass, and given the opportunity to sit in the co-pilot seat while being briefed on all the instruments by Sivanthan who never wavered in his professional, pleasant and repetitive narrative. They had the opportunity to walk through the aircraft, look at the galley, ask many questions and even use the toilets. They were then driven to the Fire Department, stopping on the way to watch an aircraft land and see all the machinations that occur to ensure people disembark and eventually receive their luggage.

At the Fire Department they were met by the crew led by Sunday Sen, Safety and Rescue FFS Manager, shown the fire engines and allowed to climb inside and ask questions. They were then given a demonstration of the power of the water hose (300 litres per minute) and all then headed for the bus to be taken to the VVIP section. The VVIP section is the separate section of the airport reserved for kings, presidents, prime ministers and other special envoys. They were taken to the reception lounge where each child was given a gift of a cap with the insignia of Cambodia International Airport and a booklet. They were, by special permission, given the opportunity to visit the premier lounge and, for a while, imagine what it would be like to be a king….

It was then back into the bus to be taken to the terminal building where their journey had started three hours previously. They had been accompanied throughout by Monirath Sok, Samnang Chey and Florent de Warren, who had responded to the myriad questions and looked to the comfort and safety of a bunch of boisterous children – Florent also being the photographer of the day and had taken over 150 photos. There is something about a bunch of happy children that affects everyone that comes into contact with them. And so it was this day. Passengers that normally sit sullenly or morosely waiting for the seemingly interminable hours to pass before boarding their flight, smiled when the children walked past, some even greeted them. The effort that was put into this trip by the management and staff of Phnom Penh International Airport has ensured that the dreams of a number of children have been realised and their horizons broadened. Link: Who Will.



Blogger cat said...

super ! effectivement une très jolie action de l'équipe de l'aéroport ! les enfants semblent ravis !
j'ai découvert le travail de "who will" grâce au lien. merci.

August 13, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Dear Cat, you do this on purpose as you know my language skills are sooooo bad. :-)
yes, hats off to the airport authorities for making this such a special day for the kids from Who Will. I think it was a fantastic gesture.

The Who Will children have now just moved out to their new home in Kompong Chhnang. There was 16 kids scheduled to move from Phnom Penh but when news got out that figure rose to 45 children in the final count! And knowing the folks at Who Will, they just couldn't say no. They have also taken 3 care-givers and a manager to make sure all the kids are catered for.
I hope to get up to see the kids' new home in the near future.

August 13, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger cat said...

so, tell us more when you go and see their new home !

August 14, 2009 at 1:31 AM  

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