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As happened every year, Caritas Cambodia held an annual staff gathering for all staff at the Catholic Retreat Center in Sihanouk Ville from 18-19 January 2017. Caritas Cambodia is happy to be able to bring 200 staff members in a two-day gathering. This year, there are more participants represented the Catholic Church from Battambong province. The 23th anniversary gathering’s theme is “Together as Family for Mission of Mercy”. Thanks to the Catholic Retreat Center in Sihanouk Ville and Fr. Un Sun that are part of the event and their great hospitality.
Bishop Kike Figaredo, Chairman of Caritas Cambodia welcomed all staff members and representatives from the Catholic Church of Battambong province. On the opening remark, Bishop Kike underlined the value of the theme by emphasizing on four key words:
  • Together: Think and care of each other
  • Family: Building work environment as home
  • Mission: Journey on the same mission to serve the poor and
  • Mercy: Love and compassion
More importantly, Caritas Cambodia cannot thank enough to Fr. Totet Banaynal SJ, from the Catholic Church in Siem Reap who provided a reflection session on the theme “Family”. Fr. Totet raised a number of key values that are associated to the theme such as “Love in Marriage”, “Love Made Fruitful”, “Some Pastoral Perspectives”, “Towards a Better Education of Children”, and “Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness”. He also guided us to discussion and sharing among the group.  
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Reflection session on the theme “FAMILY”, facilitated by Fr. Totet.
As we are entering into the five year strategic framework (2017-2021), the management team represented by Mr. Kim Rattana, Caritas Cambodia Executive Director provided a brief review of the framework, working process, involvement and participation from all level of staff including the communities, the government, partner organizations and donors. He shared with all colleagues the five strategic orientations that are going to be implemented in the next five years. Those strategic pillars include 1/ Emergency Response, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, and Ecological Protection, 2/Integral Human Development (IHD), 3/ Anti-human trafficking and Migration, 4/Advocacy& Communication and 5/Good governance.

On behalf of Caritas Cambodia management, Mr. Rattana thanked to all staff that accompanies the organization during year and is looking forward to a continued support and commitment towards a five-year journey and beyond.

Caring for environment
The staff gathering this year is special as it cares for environment. As part of its commitment to promote environment, Caritas Cambodia has collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and the provincial department, as well the provincial authority to highlight the importance of conserving the environment. There are two main environmental activities being carried out within the two day gathering. The first activity is the collection of waste around the retreat center compound and along Ochheuteal beach, one of the beautiful beaches in the country. The second one is mangrove plantation at Preynob, allowing majority of staff to get their first time experience in planting mangrove trees. Both activities are aimed at raising awareness about environment among the communities and general public.

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Waste collection activity on Ochheuteal beach, participated by the governor of Sihanouk Ville province, the provincial department of environment and Caritas staff.
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Mangrove plantation activity at Preynob, Sihanouk Ville, participated by the Ministry of Environment, the provincial department of environment, local community and Caritas staff.
Cultural program and solidarity dinner
All staff had a great dinner with delicious food and enjoyed dancing and singing. This entertaining activity aims at sharing some joyful moments together and building relations among individual and group.
It is such a joyful and unforgettable night!
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Sharing joy and solidarity in dancing and eating competition.
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