I am always on the lookout for new schools for SKOPE to work with. In November 2015, whilst holidaying with my parents, I got chatting to one of the waitresses at our guesthouse who was very interested in what I, and SKOPE, do.
Sokha had learnt her excellent English from Chumkriel Language School, a small NGO set up on the outskirts of Kampot, a riverside town in the south of Cambodia. She thought I might like to meet with the head teacher of Chumkriel Language School (CLS) and maybe work together.
I visited in January 2016 and was thoroughly impressed with what the NGO and their inspirational, kind-hearted founder Nget Sokonthy are doing. Not only do they provide free daily education to hundreds of children, they also support the local community in many other ways. Attached to a public school, CLS share their facilities with the government school, organise workshops and sporting events and provide free lunches from their soup kitchen using vegetables grown in their own plot.
About half the 450 students attend the evening English classes for free, with the other half paying approximately $1 per month. Those who cannot pay are encouraged to give something back in other ways, including teaching classes themselves when they graduate or getting involved in other projects. This is what Sokha is doing now so after she works all day at the Greenhouse guesthouse where we met, she teaches children who come from a similar background to herself.
I am particularly keen to get SKOPE involved in CLS’s shelter building projects. Sokonthy builds shelters for vulnerable families on the condition that their children then attend his school. By providing a safe, secure house for these families, Sokonthy is stabilising the family unit and therefore the children are more likely to attend school regularly and excel in their studies. Each house itself costs $500 but CLS likes donors to contribute $700. The additional $200 will cover the cost of the children’s schooling until they are 18, including books, stationary and uniforms. Interested? Email me at: SKOPE@sovannkomar.org or visit our Facebook page.
We are also looking to supply CLS with some classroom equipment including speakers to help the children learn the correct pronunciation, flashcards and posters in the Khmer language, and exercise books. At the moment we have no funds for this particular project so, again, if you are interested, please visit our Crowdfunder page.
SKOPE is hoping to make a different in rural Cambodia but we can’t do that without your help. Anything you can spare will go directly to the projects I have written about here. Already we have two schools in Kampong Thom which we will be donating exercise books and stationary to in March which is great. But we want to do more and with your help, we can be the change.