This school year seven graduates from the Srayang Dormitory moved to the Siem Reap dormitories to begin studying in High School. A major first for all of us; the first time every graduate from Srayang continued on to Grade 10 and the first time any of those students had made such a giant leap from their villages. It was our greatest experiment ever, and so far it has paid off.
When we made the decision to pull our programs out of Knar Primary School and build a Center in the village, one of the sticking points for us (and the students) was the loss of our ability to give students breakfast every day. We’re happy to report that challenge has been overcome!
Year on year our University scholarship program continues to grow. This is testament to the success of our high school and early years programs. This year PLF took on twenty new University students and placed two more students in Vocational training school. The majority of these students will attend the top Universities in the country in the capital, Phnom Penh.
This past school year marked more accomplishments than we can fit into one post, but there is one particular story of resilience that sings to us, and that is the story of Koh Ker Village’s first ever High School graduate, Channy.
Namva, Chenda and Chanya are some of PLF’s most recent success stories. All have recently graduated from PLF’s scholarship program and landed fantastic jobs in three different fields. Interestingly, PLF supported each student in different ways. In our scholarship program we tailor the support that we offer based on the goals and needs of each student.
The pump has been filled, the floor has been swept, and our new bathroom facility at Knar school is finally complete! Our facilities now have three times as many toilets and a proper hand washing station, an improvement that helps us to better address the sanitary needs of our 360+ students and teachers. However, beyond this upgrade in facilities, these new bathrooms represent a major success in our efforts to educate the community at Knar about the importance of actually using them. So just how important is a having a toilet, and how does using it affect the community?
In our holistic approach to bringing meaningful education to the most marginalized communities in northern Cambodia, a key component is our food programs, which take the edge off the persistent food insecurity that is prevalent among the children who attend PLF rural schools.
The 2014 Cambodia Demographic Health Survey found that under-nutrition rates remain a public health concern, with 32% of children under 5 years of age stunted, 24% underweight, and 10% wasted. Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. Rising inequality, landlessness and deterioration of common resources have eroded the coping capacity of food-insecure people. Limited access for the poor to education and health services and low levels of investment in public infrastructure further perpetuate food insecurity and undernutrition.
And that’s in a good year. 2016 has not been a good year.
It was in May 2014 that PLF made it’s first visit to Romchek Village, nestled just inside a protected forest in northern Preah Vihear Province. This village is about 20km north of Koh Ker Village, where PLF has run a successful school for almost a decade. The students from Koh Ker have been given access to secondary school by coming to live at the PLF Dormitory at Srayang. The students from Romchek hoped to have a chance to join those ranks and continue their education. But it’s not so simple.
By Hannah Najar
This past fall Lucy Inouye, a frequent PLF volunteer from Hawaii, introduced a group of 12 students to the tunes of her hometown and paved the way for ukulele club at Knar school. It is with great excitement that we write this post to share the current accomplishments of PLF’s newest musicians!
By Brooke Beyer
Brooke and her mother, Gretchen, spent a week volunteering at Tchey School, working on english enrichment and teaching Irish dance. Here is Brooke’s account of all of the jumping, skipping, turning, and her favorite moments during her time spent volunteering with PLF.