FORMER Old Bar athlete and St Clare's High School student Elana Withnall is embarking on a trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia this November to help empower the lives of children living in extreme poverty by providing them with sports programs and fundamental life skills and teaching.
Elana is a final year sports business student at the Australian College of Physical Education and will travel with 15 other students from the university and work in Phnom Penh for 23 days. She will be working at the Cambodian Children's Fund, which was founded in 2004. It is a centre for life-changing education, nourishment and healing for some of Cambodia's most destitute communities.
During Elana's time, working at the centre she will utilise her sporting knowledge and passion for social justice by providing these children with a variety of sports programs, including ball skills, team sports, learn-to-swim program, fundamentals of dance and yoga as well as teaching basic life skills these children are not exposed to. By doing this, the Cambodian Children's Fund aim to empower these extremely disadvantaged children with the gift of sport and its power to improve physical and mental wellbeing.
Elana is a two-time gold medallist in the heptathlon, after representing Australia overseas at the Oceania Athletics championships in 2013, and 2014. She is a future Olympic hopeful, training under the guidance of Olympic coach, Mike Hurst. Elana was very involved within the Manning Valley community and formerly a member of Old Bar Little Athletics Club and Old Bar Football Club, as well as Forster Senior Athletics Club and the Andrea Rowsell Academy of Dance.
Elana is studying and training fulltime as she strives to represent Australia in track and field, as well as working part-time as a personal trainer to raise funds for this trip. As she is extremely busy, she would greatly appreciate any assistance by donating to: www.gofundme.com/elanatocambodia.
Anyone who wants to find out more about what the Cambodian Children's Fund do, to change the lives of these children living in poverty, please visit: www.cambodianchildrensfund.org.