Chumkriel Language School: A SKOPE donation day in Kampot

On Sunday 1st May, SKOPE visited Chumkriel Language School in Kampot. I first heard about this NGO in November from Sokha Phin, one of the waitresses at the guest house where I was staying and a former student at the school. Very briefly, Chumkriel Language School (CLS) provides free education to children living on the salt fields just outside Kampot town. They have two buildings and support over 150 children every day, helping them to get a quality education which can lift them and their families out of the poverty cycle.

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The children from CLS and Sovann Komar walking to the salt fields

SKOPE’s donations to CLS were classroom based: posters, speakers, flashcards, reading comprehension books, and lesson materials. Many of the children who attend CLS bring younger brothers and sisters to school with them because there is no one else to care for them during the day. Therefore we also bought toys and balls for them to play with whilst their older siblings are learning.

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Children and staff from CLS and Sovann Komar along with me and a few friends. The donations are laid out in front of us

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Some children came from Sovann Komar for the day to see the school and meet some of the kids SKOPE is helping. They had a great talk from the headteacher, Mr Thy, about the important work CLS does and how SKOPE has contributed and then the local children gave ours a tour of the salt fields. It was the first time they had seen where salt comes from and they were very interested in the white basins of crystals and how they are gathered.

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Salt fields tour

Afterwards a game of football started up with children from Sovann Komar and CLS playing wonderfully together.

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Football time

We also put up some posters in one of the classrooms which were then admired by some of the students.

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Children look up at the Khmer vowel poster. On the left is the Khmer consonant poster

This day was yet another confirmation for me that charity work is definitely what I want to do with my life. I had a wonderful time with the local children whilst we waited for the delayed bus from Phnom Penh (I was already in Kampot for the long weekend with two friends, Jordan and Rachel), and the project felt really worthwhile. CLS is dedicated to providing these children with an education and without their work, the kids I chatted and played with on Sunday would have been out in the salt fields under a boiling hot sun, piling up the grains and carrying heavy basketfuls to the storage barns for the measly wages of $2-$3 every day. It is a hand-to-mouth existence and, with a turbulent salt market, an unstable one. By giving these children a chance to study Khmer, maths, science, computers, and English, CLS offers these children and their families a way out of poverty.

SKOPE hopes to continue to work with CLS and is keen to get involved in some wider, community-based work such as their shelter housing project, the community vegetable garden, and building a hydroponics system. If you are interested in supporting any of these innovative initiatives (two words which should be used side by side more often because it’s just fun), please comment on this blog or email me at SKOPE@sovannkomar.org.

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CLS children wait for the donations

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Sovann Komar children and staff learn about CLS and the salt fields

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Lucy helps to put up some posters in the classroom

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Someone’s little sister tags along for the salt fields tour

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Categories: Awareness, Be the change, Cambodia, change, charity, children, Countryside, Day Trips, donation, Donations, Education, Expat, Friends, Fun, games, heartwarming, Holiday, Kampot, Mission, Money, morals, NGO, orphanage, Outreach, Project, school, SKOPE, South East Asia, Sport, sports, success, teacher, Teaching, Travel, weekend, work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Chumkriel Language School: A SKOPE donation day in Kampot

  1. Susie Graham-Jones

    Hi Ruth. We visited the salt flats outside Kampot too, while staying at Villa Vedici in mid-February; but of course we missed the CLS school and project. Well done SKOPE for supporting their important work – sounds as if you and they had a great day and left some good stuff behind. Have you had the American school visit yet ? We hope to see you in Oxford when you finally get back to the UK .. x Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susie,

      Great to hear from you. The salt fields are amazing – I’m on my way there right now to discuss a new project actually. The school itself is tiny and tucked away but it would have been very interesting for you to see. The American students arrive at the beginning of July but there are already preparations underway for their time at Sovann Komar and the outreach project they will be doing.

      And of course, when I eventually return to the UK, I will make it up to Oxford to see you.

      Warm regards,

      Ruth

      Like

  2. Paul Asprey

    Hello Ruth

    I came across your article by chance when searching for the CLS Logo. I am a senior teacher and Rotarian from Darwin NT Australia who has been working with CLS since 2013. During this time I have mentored the Evening School teachers with their pedagogy and classroom practices, developed the leadership skills of Mr Thy, presented literacy professional development and am now conducting the annual reading and sight vocabulary assessments for CLS and Angprey School. I spend 7 weeks at CLS assessing the students assisted by my wife, CLS staff and anyone else we manage to rope in.

    Rotary has been involved with CLS since 2008/2009 through the construction of the Learning Centre and its library extension (2015) as the school is a Rotary Australia World Community Service Project. The Rotary Club of Darwin North has just made a decision to provide significant funding to CLS over the next three years commencing 1 July 2016 supporting the education program, shelter building program and minor projects as well as continuing the literacy assessment program.

    CLS and Cambodia transformed my life in 2013 when I lived there for three months so much so that though my physical presence is in Australia, my heart and thoughts are in Kampot and CLS. Hopefully, we can meet one day to discuss and share in the ongoing success of this wonderful Khmer NGO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Paul,

      I believe we briefly met in January when I was first visiting CLS with my friend Anna. You were very informative about the projects CLS does and spoke about your assessment work you were just finishing. Thank you for all of the advice you gave us that day.

      I would love to speak to you more about the aims of the Rotary in relation to CLS as I am looking to get SKOPE more involved in the near future and would be interested in knowing more about your long-term goals. If you would like to email me at SKOPE@sovannkomar.org I would be keen to chat more.

      Also, when you inevitably find yourself back in this idyllic country, please let me know so we can meet up and share more about our mutual love both of Kampot and this marvellous NGO.

      Best wishes,

      Ruth

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  3. Pingback: Chapter Two – The Kampot Adventures | Lemon in Cambodia

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