Our day program is our central focus and currently provides 15 participants with a place to bathe, a clean school uniform (and other clothes), two meals a day and a ride to and from the local school in the Taksengkangbloung 5-Star.
The program also provides basic healthcare and a safe and nurturing environment for children to spend the day outside of school hours. The participants in the day program receive structured tutoring in English and Khmer outside of their normal schooling in our Community Learning Centre (please see below for more information). Children who participate in the day program also share responsibility in caring for small poultry and a sustainable garden if they are interested in doing so.
The principal of the local primary school which the children attend meets with our directors on a regular basis and is fully supportive of our program concept. She is aware of the vulnerabilities of our participants and the delicacy required in assimilating them into the schooling environment and monitoring their progress. Many of them had not attended school before joining the program, and some were as old as 10 at the time of enrolment. The principal agreed to allow them to commence school at their age level provided they could be tutored outside school hours to assist them in attaining the national standard level of literacy for their age. This tutoring is provided in our Community Learning Centre.
The 15 participants in the pilot day program are the most vulnerable children in the village. They were selected to join the program in consultation with the village leaders and with their own families or carers. We hope to expand soon to allow more beneficiaries to come on board.
Community Learning Centre
Another central aspect of our program is the Community Learning Centre.
The Community Learing Centre and the Day Program
Our day program participants receive daily tutoring from a lovely local teacher, Sokhean, who is employed by the centre on a full-time basis. Sohkean primarily provides English tutoring tailored to match each individual student’s level and needs. A teacher from the local Government primary school also provides catch-up tutoring against the national Khmer curriculum as agreed with the local school principal.
The aim of the tutoring program is to build the children’s confidence and assist them in reaching the standard of their school mates, especially when they have not been to school before.
The Community Learning Centre and the village
The Community Learning Centre also offers open classes to children from the village who do not participate in the day program. There is tremendous demand for these classes and they generally attract about 30 children daily.
One of the organisation’s future goals is to offer regular adult education in literacy, health and hygiene, and budgeting. Attracting adults to engage with the centre on an educational level has its challenges, but the centre has ran some very successful one-off classes in the past. We will continue to monitor interest and develop ideas to foster engagement.
Outreach projects and other work
While our focus is on the children who directly participate in the day program, we conduct various outreach projects in order to assist the entire community. These include the provision of food parcels to vulnerable families and the provision of basic health care to the village. We fund our outreach programs by holding fundraising events such as movie nights and trivia nights in Australia, and also by seeking crowd-sourced funding in particular instances via social media. We make our fundraising goals clear in each instance.
We ‘keep it local’ by employing people from the village and sourcing products through local suppliers. The village is encouraged to take shared responsibility for the success of the Community Centre’s various programs. For information on our approach to engaging volunteers in achieving outreach goals, please read “responsible in-country volunteering” in the “support us” tab.
The centre is currently trialling a large sustainable garden which provides a food source to children attending the centre. It is hoped that gardens can be built elsewhere in the village in the future to provide food and generate income for families.
For the most part we prefer to provide recreational equipment, toys, books and sports facilities to individuals who have attended tutoring earlier in the day as a reward for engaging. The Community Learning Centre building is available as requested outside hours as a meeting place for anyone from the village. We also conduct open sports, gatherings and movie screenings from time to time to which all are welcome.
If you would like to join our mailing list and receive invites to fundraising events please email firstname.lastname@example.org.