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.
This year will be the first year that an entire graduating class of Koh Ker Primary School alumni will continue onto High School in Siem Reap. But in order to truly know where they are going, you must first understand where they have been.
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
Curious what daily life looks like for volunteers in Koh Ker? Check out Hannah’s daily routine from a week spent volunteering and checking in on PLF’s programs at Koh Ker Primary, Romchek Primary, and Srayang Dormitory. Great adventures always start with breakfast!
By Lori Carlson
There were times during the course of the planning and execution of constructing the library at Koh Ker School that I was sure we had all lost our minds. I’m also sure that the kind souls who shared our vision for undertaking this challenging project and gave us the money to do it, also often wondered if we had cracked!
By Jacqui Rawson
Alcohol awareness, reproductive health and personal hygiene are just some of the workshops PLF has been running over August, September and October in conjunction with the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC).
By Travis Thompson, PLF Board of Directors
It’s been five months since I left my spot alongside Ponheary, Lori, and the Ponheary Ly Foundation team in the Siem Reap office to move back to the U.S. I’ve spent these last months trying to adjust to my new life in Seattle. The transition has been made easier as I’ve crossed paths with PLF supporters who are doing their part to share with their communities in the U.S. the importance of our work in Cambodia.
By Travis Thompson
A big part of Ponheary Ly Foundation’s operation at Koh Ker Primary over the past eight years has involved the school’s library which has served many functions. Now, it’s time for an exciting new day for the library, and in effect, the entire school and community.