A new wall would be a real community asset.- Paul Lougheed
Warrnambool man Paul Lougheed had never tried rock climbing until he visited Cambodia a few years ago - now he's spearheading a fundraising effort to build a new bouldering wall in the country.
Mr Lougheed has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $3465 for a bouldering wall at Siem Reap after the previous rock climbing wall was closed permanently last year.
The closure of the site for redevelopment has left rock climbing teacher Sry Kimsroy and young people with a passion for the sport without a venue to train, learn and socialise.
Mr Lougheed said the project was being organised by local people but needed help with fundraising.
"COVID-19 has significantly impacted the Siem Reap community, leaving many young people disengaged and without access to sporting opportunities," he said.
"The wall would help these children to re-engage, find purpose, learn new skills, develop confidence and even represent their country at elite levels."
Mr Lougheed and his family met Mr Kimsroy and tried rock climbing in 2011 and kept in touch before returning to Cambodia in 2018.
"I'd never climbed a rock wall before but was impressed with how much this wall meant to the local community, particularly young people," he said.
"A new wall would be a real community asset. The project is being driven by people in the area but I was so impressed by what I saw I decided to help with some external fundraising."
The wall will be set up as a not-for-profit business and could be used by 30-40 students a day.
It would be supported by a team of instructors and would be the first stage of re-establishing a rock climbing school in the area.
The fundraising can be supported here.
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