A Struggling Community and Its Teachers See a Light

Date : 2015-09-30
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Kiri Sok San and Yea Villages are located in a very remote and disadvantaged area about 30 km into the forest from Snuol Town in Kratie Province. It is very hard to access this area in the rainy season due to the bad road conditions. These two villages consist of 187 households with 114 children who are not able to attend school. This is largely because the state has not yet been able to provide the villages with a public school. Only some children can go to learn with community teachers organized by local community people under the trees or people’s houses. The CEFAC supported by IBEC and the Cluster Head at Svay Chreas School in Snuol asked IBEC to provide some assistance for these communities. He noted that local authorities in Svay Chras Commune knew very little information about these two far away villages.


In November, IBEC staff from World Education and KAPE made a visit to these two villages and met with many community people to assess the situation and need. IBEC visitors especially sought out the community teacher who is already teaching some children without any training, textbooks, or learning materials. The children just come to listen to the teacher and repeat what the teacher says.


During the meeting with IBEC, the community generously agreed to find land and wood for building four temporary classrooms for their children but requested the project to help with teacher training and salary payment for community teachers, teaching and learning materials, and water and sanitation facilities. In addition to the support stipend from IBEC of $25 per month, the community people volunteered to give more support by contributing 1500 Riel per family (around 70,000 Riel per month) to the community teacher as a kind of additional encouragement.


Given the incredible interest shown by this community to set up a school, IBEC decided to respond to these entreaties for support. All the community people were extremely happy to hear this and said that they are not alone anymore and that USAID is the only donor to express interest in helping their community, which is comprised mainly of Phnong villagers and some Khmer new comers.


During the early months of the school year, the school construction was finished and teaching is now in progress. Children are packed with learning materials such as writing slates, notebooks, pencils, pens, mobile blackboards and textbooks for all subjects. The IBEC team is in the process of supporting water and sanitation facilities such as a new well, water filters, etc. Seeing this remarkable transformation and all of the local investment in education, the CEFAC head said that he will try as hard as he can to get this school registered with the Ministry of Education so that they can apply for state teachers in the future.




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