Jan 9, 2019

2018: Year in Review

Dear friends of ISF,

As we start the New Year, we'd like to send you a note to thank you for your amazing support.

2018 was a successful and exciting year here at ISF. We welcomed 80 new students into our Catch-up Education Programme and celebrated another 80 students graduating from the programme and progressing to state school. The last quarter of the year was exam-focused and we were delighted to see 90% of our catch-up students pass their exams with flying colours in October and progress two grades.

The new academic year started in November 2018 and 218 students, 48% of whom are female, are currently catching up on missed education at our two education centres. Among the new cohort is nine-year-old Tey* who’s first day at ISF, was her first ever experience of school. “I am very happy to have the chance to study at ISF” she tells us. “When my parents told me that I was selected, I cried because I was so excited - I really wanted to study but my parents could not afford it”. She describes feeling “very nervous as well as happy” on her first day of school. However, after quickly making new friends and getting to know her teachers, Tey’s nerves have subsided and now after just six weeks at ISF, she has started to feel at home. “I feel that ISF is my home and I want to come to study at ISF every day including on weekends” she beams. “I promised myself, all my teachers and my parents that I will study hard and be a good student".

When a student graduates from ISF’s Catch-up Education Programme, it means that they have attained the necessary grade for their age to enable them to enter state school. In 2018, we supported 323 catch-up students to go to state school where they study Khmer, Social Science, Math and sciences. ISF supports them to attend state school and provides students with uniforms, school materials, breakfast and lunch, and monthly food parcels for their families. In addition to this, they continue to have access to all of ISF’s projects, including English and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) lessons, extra-curricular activities, employment training and vocational support.

Ratana*, currently a grade 10 state school student, moved from her hometown in Cambodia’s south eastern province of Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh to live with her aunt when she was just eight years old. She was hopeful that Phnom Penh could offer her a chance at receiving a better quality of education than her hometown but unfortunately her parents couldn’t afford to send her to school when she arrived. Instead, she joined ISF and quickly developed a passion for learning. After just one year in ISF’s Catch-up Education Programme, Ratana joined state school.

Today, Ratana is 16 years old and began grade 10 in November 2018. Ratana’s favourite subjects are Khmer and Math and in the future she dreams of being a teacher of either subject. At ISF, she enjoys taking English classes and playing football with her friends. Since joining ISF and taking her education seriously she is happy to have found focus and to concentrate on her future: “Before ISF, I didn’t work hard at school and didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future. But now, I’ve been studying hard both at school and at home, and along the way, I’ve realised what I want to achieve and I feel proud of myself” she explains.

Despite many students sharing a similar passion for learning and determination to succeed as Ratana, absenteeism still remains our biggest challenge. To tackle this, we have a number of approaches. One is to arrange regular meetings with our teachers and social workers with the students’ parents to encourage good attendance and adequate parental supervision. By increasing parental involvement in education, we can improve attitudes towards education and encourage parents to spend more time assisting their children and monitoring their school work. We also understand that many of our students, especially as they grow older, feel pressure to bring home an income, to support their families. In response to this, we run an Employment Project which teaches students vocational skills and even assists in finding them suitable part-time work while they continue their studies. Ensuring our students receive a quality education is at the heart of what we do.

As we start the new calendar year, we’re reflecting on a year of achievements and successes – and looking forward to what 2019 will bring. Your contribution is supporting some of the most disadvantaged children in Cambodia to access comprehensive education, healthcare and sport. On behalf of all of us at ISF, thank you for supporting our students and their families to change their lives and futures.

 

*Names of children under 18 years old have been changed.

Tey*, new ISF catch-up student
Tey*, new ISF catch-up student
Ratana*, ISF state school student
Ratana*, ISF state school student

Links:

Nov 14, 2018

Success! Thanks to you, 80 Cambodian children are finally able to go to school!

Dear friends of ISF,

With the end of the year approaching, we'd like to send you a note to thank you for your amazing support of ISF. Thanks to supporters like you, our project "Give Disadvantaged Cambodian Children an Education" is almost fully funded. We look forward to continuing to partner with you and to changing the lives of many more Cambodian children in the years to come. 

In November 2018, we took an additional 80 students who have never been to school into our Education Programme. At ISF, they will have access to a comprehensive fast-track education, which will allow them to study two grades in one year and catch-up to the correct grade for their age. 

The past quarter was exam-time here in Cambodia. This year, we were delighted to see 90% of our catch-up students pass their exams with flying colours and progress two grades at the end of October. Among these students, 80 even caught up to the correct grade for their age and are now supported to study at government-run schools.

We currently support a total of 218 students in our Catch-up Programme and a further 323 students are supported to study at state schools in Phnom Penh. One of these students is grade-9 student Ratha*. In August 2018, she sat her state exams, which would determine if she could proceed to grade 10. In addition to completing her household chores after school in the evening, she made sure to complete her homework and to revise in preparation for the exam and even signed up for extra classes. “I was committed to working hard to pass the exam” she says.

On 14 August, Ratha picked up her results from school and was relieved to learn that she passed with great grades. All that hard work paid off and Ratha tells us that her father is very proud of her achievements and is encouraging her to keep up the good work.

Ratha was one of our 37 state school students to sit this year’s grade 9 state exams. We are proud to announce that 95% of our students passed their final exams, meaning that they will proceed to high school. These incredible young students have beaten the odds, going from having missed out on years of education to reaching high school!

Over the past academic year, students dropping out of school before completion remained our biggest challenge. Moving back to the rural provinces or obtaining paid work accounted for the reasons why ISF state school students dropped out. These students receive 1-to-1 counselling from our social workers and employment team to ensure that they progress on to stable employment and where possible return to school.

Vuthy* is 16 years old and currently supported by ISF to attend state school. Growing up in Takeo Province in southwest Cambodia, Vuthy did not have an opportunity to go to school as both his parents were ill and the responsibility to put food on the table fell to him and his seven siblings.

Although enrolled in school in Takeo Province, he struggled to attend regularly. Usually, instead of going to school, he would go fishing with his father or would help take care of cattle while his sisters sold vegetables at the local market. “It was challenging to put food on the table for my family, let alone working hard at school” he recalls.

At eight years of age, he moved with his two older sisters to Phnom Penh in search of better prospects. His sisters found jobs as garment factory workers and Vuthy found an opportunity to attend school at ISF. Vuthy enrolled at grade 1 level and after two years at ISF, he entered state school at grade 5.

Vuthy’s favourite things about ISF include learning English and Khmer literature and participating in the Football Programme. His talent on the pitch has led him to playing in defence for a Cambodian League football club. Currently, the club provides him with shared accommodation, three meals a day and a weekly stipend. However, earlier this year, things were not as secure for Vuthy as they are now. When his coach left the club, he lost his accommodation and decided to move back home to Takeo Province.

While he was at home, he received frequent follow-up calls from ISF’s social workers and Employment Programme team to check on his well-being and to encourage him to return to school. After four months at home, Vuthy realised that he would have a better chance of fulfilling his dreams of a better future if he returned to school. He credits ISF social worker Serey with this realisation and with his return to school – “Serey could not just stand back and watch me give up my dream” he says.

Vuthy returned to school just in time to sit the state grade 9 exams. Despite his absenteeism, he passed with good grades and is due to enroll in grade 10 in November 2018.

Your contribution is supporting some of the most underserved children in Phnom Penh to access comprehensive education, healthcare and support. On behalf of all of us at ISF, thank you for supporting our students and their families to change their lives and futures.

 

*Names of children under 18 years old have been changed. 

Ratha, ISF grade-9 graduate
Ratha, ISF grade-9 graduate
Vuthi, ISF state school student
Vuthi, ISF state school student
Some our new students posing at ISF
Some our new students posing at ISF
Oct 11, 2018

How you are making a difference

Our Education Programme is continuing to make an impact on our students' lives. Thanks to your support, over 600 disadvantaged Cambodian children are receiving comprehensive education, allowing them to catch up to the correct grade for their age, join government-run schools and, ultimately, find stable employment. ISF continues to support each child and their family by providing uniforms, paying school fees and providing food for the families. Children who have integrated into state school also continue to have access to all of ISF’s programmes, including English and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) lessons, extra-curricular activities, employment training, and vocational support.

We currently provide 218 disadvantaged Cambodian children (48% of whom are female) with a comprehensive fast-track education, allowing them to study two grades in one year and catch-up to the correct grade for their age. We expect the majority of our catch-up students to progress two grades at the end of October 2018 and look forward to sharing their results with you.

A further 352 students (49% of whom are female), are supported to study at state schools in Phnom Penh. One of these students is grade-9 student Ratha*. In August 2018, she sat her state exams, which would determine if she could proceed to grade 10. Despite needing to do housework after school, she made sure to complete her homework every night in preparation and even signed up for extra classes. “I was committed to working hard to pass the exam” she says.

On 14th August, Ratha picked up her results from school and was relieved to learn that she passed with flying colours. All that hard work paid off and Ratha tells us that her father is very proud of her achievements and is encouraging her to keep up the good work.

Ratha was one of our 37 state school students to sit this year’s grade 9 state exams. We are proud to announce that 95% of our students passed their final exams, meaning that they will proceed to high school. These incredible young people have beaten the odds, going from having missed out on years of education to reaching high school!

Over the past academic year, students dropping out of school before completion remained our biggest challenge. Moving back to the rural provinces or obtaining paid work accounted for the reasons why ISF state school students dropped out. These students receive 1-to-1 counselling from our social workers and employment team to ensure that they progress on to stable employment and where possible return to school.

Vuthy* is 16 years old and currently supported by ISF to attend state school. Growing up in Takeo Province in southwest Cambodia, Vuthy did not have much of an opportunity to go to school as both his parents were ill and the responsibility to put food on the table fell to him and his seven siblings.

Although enrolled in school in Takeo Province, Vuthy struggled to attend regularly. Usually, instead of going to school, he would go fishing with his father or would help take care of cattle while his sisters sold vegetables at the local market. “It was challenging to put food on the table for my family, let alone working hard at school” he recalls.

At eight years of age, he moved with his two older sisters to Phnom Penh in search of better opportunities. His sisters found jobs as garment factory workers and Vuthy found an opportunity to attend school at ISF. Vuthy enrolled at grade 1 level and after two years at ISF, he entered state school at grade 5.

Vuthy’s favourite things about ISF include learning English and Khmer literature and participating in the football programme. His talent on the pitch has led him to playing in defence for a Cambodian League football club. Currently, the club provides him with shared accommodation, three meals a day and a weekly stipend. However, earlier this year, things were not as secure for Vuthy as they are now. When his coach left the club, he lost his accommodation and decided to move back home to Takeo Province.

While he was at home, he received frequent follow-up calls from ISF’s social workers and employment programme team to check on his well-being and to encourage him to return to school. After four months at home, Vuthy realised that he would have a better chance of fulfilling his dreams of a better future if he returned to school. He credits ISF social worker Serey with this realisation and with his return to school – “he could not just stand back and watch me give up my dream” he says.

Vuthy returned to school just in time to sit the state grade 9 exams. Despite his absenteeism, he passed with good grades and is due to enroll in grade 10 in November 2018.

Here at ISF, we are committed to the development of the individual and we are so pleased to see the success of this approach with our recent graduates. In August 2017, ISF student Bunleng passed his grade 12 exam, completing his high school education together with two other ISF students. Growing up in an impoverished area, university was never considered an option for Bunleng. But, his hard work and determination to succeed have provided him with surprising opportunities. Earlier this year, Bunleung relocated to Taiwan to pursue his studies on a scholarship.

The other two ISF grade-12 graduates have now completed an intensive English bridging course that will allow them to make the most of their university studies, which will be taught in English. They will start university this year and we look forward to supporting them as they continue with their education.

In November 2018, we plan to take an additional 80 students into our Education Programme across our two centres in Chbar Ampov and Stung Meanchey. Your contribution is supporting some of the most underserved children in Phnom Penh to access comprehensive education, healthcare and support. 

On behalf of all of us at ISF, thank you for supporting our students and their families to change their lives and futures.

 

*Names of children under 18 years old have been changed. 

Links:

 
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