Cambodian Adventures Continue …
'Back on the road - 2023'
Rationale – as Janne Ritskes (founder of Tabitha) noted in her message closing Tabitha, the extent of absolute poverty previously evident in Cambodia has diminished. Affluence can now be seen everywhere around the country. Away from the main centres and highways however, in the rural areas, poverty continues to lock out those who cannot break through the educational and social barriers to a better life.
Community schools, running parallel to and in collaboration with their local government schools, have emerged as a crucial factor in students rising above the limitations imposed by poverty.
Lyn and John Quilty have worked for a decade with one such community school, Chum Kriel Language School (CLS), and have helped with another in a nearby community – Anlungkuki Community School They have observed these dynamics up close and offered a more fine-grained breakdown of the impact of schools generally, and community schools in particular.
- Getting children to school prevents them being used as unpaid or cheap labour. They are in a safe place. Many small children are left at home for long hours while parents are at work.
- Their health and well-being can be monitored, and medical care provided if necessary.
- They learn about basic health and hygiene, eg hand washing, not to defecate near water supplies or in the open, not letting animals lick their food or plates.
- They have clean water to drink.
- Parents as well as children learn the importance of regular attendance at their community school. This flows on to government schools.
- Both schools work closely with the principals of the relevant state schools and are alerted to problems with families so help can be given. There is strong mutual respect and sense of working together.
- The children learn appropriate classroom behaviour, how to ask for help, how to be organised for school. They have seen huge changes in this area.
- Many students are the first in their family to be literate. This is a huge step. Education is now valued by families not feared.
- Both schools teach life skills. An example is the growing of vegetables.
- Care for the environment is given much importance - reducing plastic, not littering, keeping not just school clean but home and village area as well. Government school at Chumkriel was like a tip in our first few years with rubbish everywhere. There has been a huge change now due to the work of CLS teachers.
- Reduction in bullying and aggression. Greater respect and kindness toward one another. Kids are cleaner and healthier than in our early years.
Visit https://chumkriellanguageschool.org/ to see what this looks like in more detail.
In addition to witnessing and work in both these community schools we will continue to work with and support Epic Arts (a centre that works with students with disabilities) and Addheka’s Aid Projects of Mercy.