SUCCESS & INNOVATION
Opportunity for a Disabled Child to Change his Life and MindsetDate : 2023-05-15
A disabled child named Soknov, 10 years old, is orphaned by his father (the father had a new wife when he was very young) and lives with his mother called Sao Srey Ra and grandmother. He has two siblings living together in a rural area nearly 3 km from Kreul primary school where he studies in An Saong commune, Kampong Trabaek district, Prey Veng province. His mother has started a small domestic business since 2021 after stopping to work for construction in Phnom Penh. She earns between $ 2.5 and $ 5 a day, which is difficult for her to support her three children as well as another elderly mother in the burden. She asked her mother for a small plot of land to set up a grocery story and home base. She has no possibility to send Soknov to school.
After the Easy2Learn (E2L) project intervention implemented by KAPE with financial support from ChildFund Cambodia, and receiving information from the director, Mrs. Ra brought her child to enroll in school. Soknov was enrolled Grade 1 to study Khmer language, mathematics and science. The school has two shifts from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and in the afternoon from 1:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Soknov used to be enrolled in school but did not go to school because he was paralyzed and had no facilities to facilitate his travels and studies. On the other hand, his mother was poor and could not afford a wheelchair to go to school. Soknov was forced to crawl at home without encouragement and feeling scared of others. His grandmother helped out and provided food while his mother was busy with construction work. Soknov still has two seizures and shakes twice a year. Nowadays, Soknov is very happy because of he has opportunity to go to school and participate in various activities with other students. Soknov said, “I am very happy to be in school as well as the others do. I want to become a phone salesman and repairing phone specialist because it is easy for me. So, I am committing to try to study hard and get good results”.
After the E2L project intervention at Kreul primary school, Soknov has changed a lot such as study results, daring to talk to other students and participating in school games with friends. His mother sends him to school every day both in the morning and in the afternoon. “Soknov is motivated and having opportunity to enroll as other students doing. He is very happy to know other friends and not be afraid or ashamed as he was in the past. He comes to school more regularly. If the project did not help support him, he cannot come to school properly,” said Mr. Vaon Hoeun, the Director of Kreul Primary School.
"In the past, my grandson Soknov could not read or write. But now he can write and read much better," said Mrs. Prak Pheap, Soknov's grandmother, who seats next to her grandson with a happy face in the wooden bed in her daughter's grocery store.
Soknov continues to study hard with the encouragement from his grandmother and mother, especially the school director and teacher in charge of the class. Soknov has now changed a lot such as stopping to feel scared, can read, write and do mathematic exercises. He goes to study at school every day. "Even though the project will end soon to support my son, I still commit try to sell things to support my son to access school as possible as I can," said Mrs. Ra, the widow seating in bed of her grocery store. On the other hand, Mr. Men Thy, the E2L project officer, said, “Providing full access to education for children with disabilities is an opportunity for them to have a better life."
KAPE has achieved many successes in the implementation of educational programs for children and youth over the twenty past years. KAPE has continued to strengthen the quality of teachers and school directors in teaching and managing schools, integrating inclusive education programs between children and youth into their families in Cambodian society. KAPE continues to look for development partners who can respond the needs of children with disabilities and youth. In addition to providing scholarships as teaching and learning materials, KAPE also has sent sick children to the hospital. KAPE has worked with ChildFund Cambodia and other partners including Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, sub-national government levels, schools, communities, non-governmental organizations and many other stakeholders. Children with disabilities really need to be encouraged both physically and mentally to be happy, have opportunity to study hard and have hope in a better living.
6Higher Education Institutions