By Travis Thompson

Deep in the countryside of northwest Cambodia, two Srayang Dorm students are about to do what no one has done in their town before–open a computer school.

Ravuth teaches in the new computer lab at Srayang

 Ravuth teaches current Srayang Dorm students Microsoft Office in the new Srayang Technology Center.

Over the past few months, Srayang Dorm graduate Duon Phannak and Grade 9 student Neak Ravuth have joined forces with Ponheary Ly Foundation Canada to build the school from the ground up.  Phannak and Ravuth were selected to work with PLF on this project after showing excellent achievement throughout their time studying Microsoft Office in the PLF tech lab at the dorm.

With funding for the Srayang Technology Center secured by PLF Canada, work began to enclose the bottom half of what is now the boys’ house in the dorm complex.  Once the walls were up, workers laid tile, moved in desks , and installed additional solar power and electric wiring. Then, PLF’s tech team moved the computers that served as the dorm’s computer lab previously, to the new school. With the funding from PLF Canada, more computers have been added to the Center in preparation for it’s grand opening, now there are a total of 13 machines.

Scoring exercises in spreadsheets

 Ravuth and Phannak work with Field Director Thai Sreynith to learn how to score exercises in spreadsheets so that student information can be sent electronically to PLF’s main office in Siem Reap.

Srayang Technology Center will be open to the public, for a small fee per person, when it opens in July 2014.  This is a first for the town which has virtually no computers (outside of Srayang Dorm). Phannak and Ravuth will teach Microsoft Office programs, in hopes that the school will become popular enough that it can be totally self-sufficient and provide full-time jobs and incomes for Phannak, Ravuth, and possibly future Srayang Dorm grads. The school also aims to provide technology education that will propel Srayang to develop businesses more quickly, filling market gaps that are ripe because of such a huge influx of tourists taking the newly paved road to Koh Ker temple.

Tech education has come a long way at Srayang Dorm since February 2012 when dorm students, pictured here, worked on a low-power laptop for the first time.

The finishing touches at Srayang Technology Center involve a lot of work from Phannak and Ravuth as PLF’s field directors teach them how to score exams and exercises, how to record those scores electronically, and also how to record all other student information in spreadsheet formats so that it can be tracked by PLF’s office staff in Siem Reap.

Srayang Technology Center will also be the place that Srayang Dorm students continue their courses in Microsoft Office. Those students will of course continue to study at no cost to them.


Inside the new Srayang Technology Center

Inside the new Srayang Technology Center. It’ll open to the Srayang public in July 2014.

PLF Administrative Assistant Farida Mot teaches Phannak and Ravuth how to record information in PLF databases.

PLF Administrative Assistant Farida Mot teaches Phannak and Ravuth how to record information in PLF databases.