With the first quarter of the calendar year behind us, we are pleased to give you a round-up of the most recent news from ISF and update you on how your support is continuing to make all the difference to marginalized children in Cambodia.
ISF supports a total of 216 students in our Catch-up Programme where they study two grades in one year to catch up to the correct grade for their age and join government provided schooling. With 90% of students progressing to the next grade and 80 catch-up students progressing to state school last year, we are confident our latest cohort of students will pass their exams with flying colours.
A further 393 students are supported to study at state schools in Phnom Penh and we provide them with uniforms, school materials, healthcare and nutrition. In addition to this, state school students continue to have access to all of ISF’s projects, including English and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) lessons, extra-curricular activities, employment and vocational support. On average, we distribute almost 600 food parcels per month to the families of our students. We also provide two school meals a day, six days a week and offer free healthcare to all our students.
Since 2017, we have been supporting past student Bunleng to attend university in Taiwan. Bunleng received a 50% scholarship from the university and 50% from ISF. Another student, Thida began university in November 2018 and is currently studying International Relations and hopes to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representing her country in the future.
One of our biggest challenges is keeping our students in school. All are living in extreme poverty and earning money to support their families often means missing out on education. Our teachers and social workers regularly meet with the students’ parents to encourage regular attendance. By increasing parental involvement in education, we aim to enhance student achievement and induce parents to spend more time assisting their children and monitoring their school work. We hope that this will help improve students’ test scores as well as their attitudes and behavior towards education.
Through our multifaceted approach, we strive to keep our students in school for as long as possible as well as giving them necessary skills to succeed in finding gainful employment when they leave school.
One of our students, Leng Vatanak*, joined ISF’s Education Programme four years ago when his family relocated from Battambang Province to Phnom Penh. Up until that point, Vatanak had received very little education and entered ISF in grade 2 at ten years of age. Now, Vatanak is studying in grade 7 in state school and wishes not only to complete his high school education but to also pursue a university education.
Vatanak’s favourite subjects include English and ICT and he attends extra classes in both at ISF. Vatanak describes his English classes as interactive and fun and he appreciates his teacher’s methods of introducing games and questions to provoke discussions and critical thinking rather than relying on rote learning to deliver lessons.
Learning English is very important to Vatanak as he believes it will give him more choices when it comes to landing a job in the future. In addition to improving his career options, Vatanak also enjoys learning English because it allows him to have meaningful conversations with foreigners.
In his ICT classes, Vatanak has learned how to type in Khmer and English, how to use Microsoft Office and how to set-up an email account. Delighted with all of the skills he is developing, Vatanak aspires to be a manager or leader of a company when he has finished his education.
Thank you for supporting our work and helping us make a difference one child at a time.
With kind regards,
The ISF team
*Names of children under 18 years old have been changed.
Vatanak, ISF state school student
Free healthcare at ISF
ISF catch-up student