ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A group of RCTC students is traveling to Cambodia to help those in need.
The students held a packing party on Sunday to prepare for their trip.
"We pack it up into boxes and suitcases and bring it over ourselves," said trip director and RCTC professor Lori Halverson-Wente.
The group will travel more than 8,700 miles to reach Cambodia
"Every time we go there's always a different village that we never get to reach. And so there's always more work for us to do," said trip organizer Kim Sin.
Sin has helped to assemble this annual tradition of giving. He was originally from Cambodia but raised in the U.S.
"I was a little child so I never knew what my country was like. So when I went there I was shocked," Sin said.
Sin says he was most shocked by the poverty level.
That's when he decided to take action. While at RCTC, he sought out a request from the college's president to help those across the globe.
That's when he met Halverson-Wente. "And I literally was in the right place at the right time going into the president's office while he was going out of the president's office," she said. "I said 'hey' he said 'hi.' And I went into the president's office asking if he could send me someplace."
So why not Cambodia?
"We hear the most compelling stories of people in our own community who have made it through genocide," said Halverson-Wente. She has come learn and respect the Cambodian lifestyle.
"Seeing it first hand, it hits you like you couldn't even begin to imagine," said one of the staff volunteers, Joanne Rosener. Rosener is anticipating seeing the fruits of her fundraising through regional rotary chapters. "And now we have $15,000 that funded several. About 20 sanitation units and compost toilets in one of the villages in Cambodia," she said.
It's this need which generates the drive to return to Cambodia year after year.
"90 percent of Cambodia if you go out. Everybody's living in poverty," said Sin.
Halverson-Wente says the group has a local friend who helps get the tickets and then negotiates to have two suitcases per person to help with supplies.
This is the group's 8th annual trip.
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