Feb 19, 2021

ODC Organization End-of-Year Letter--2020

Dear Supporters, Teachers, Students, Parents and Family Members,

As Cambodia and the world continue to grapple with the pandemic, we hope you’re in good spirits and health!  While there’s a lot of uncertainty, we know that we need to adapt fast to our changing reality. Your continued support in these challenging times has enabled us to innovate to better serve our community.

2020 started well but due to Covid-19restrictions, the school was ordered to close on 7th March. ODC had to adapt very quickly and switched to distributing learning packages weekly andutilizing cell phones to enable students and teachers to interact.  Online based learning via Facebook Messenger was also introduced. On the 9th November, ODC received permission from the government to re-open. However, on 28th November, there was again community outbreak of Covid-19, and all schools were closed.  Thankfully the conditions have improved in Cambodia and we have resumed our in-person teaching in early January 2021.

 

ODC is one of a handful of educational NGOs that has innovated and continued to support our students and community during this pandemic. Teachers may not have been able to have their students physically in the classroom, but they remained connected and continued to teach creatively and passionately. The commitment, resilience and hard work of our teachers were outstanding and ensured that our students were able to continue learning. The “silver lining” to our new remote learning strategies meant that parents became much more involved in their children’s education and gained a better understanding of our ODC mission.

In December, ODC began its open-enrollment procedures for 2021. To our utmost surprise, 73 new students registered! The reputation of ODC as a school that delivers quality English teaching by caring and committed teachers has spread to villages further afield. The children aged between 5 and 16 were given a placement test and all parents were interviewed. ODC was able to offer places to most of the children but due to a lack of classrooms some had to be put on a waiting list. In February 2021, ODC will start its full-time curriculum pilot program for primary aged students. A group of 30 students will study English, Math, Science and Social Science, with all subjects taught in English. This program will greatly accelerate and improve the students’ proficiency in English and broaden their understanding in important learning areas. In 2021, ODC will have 121 students enrolled in both our full time and part time programs and 25 children on our waiting list. It is hoped that ODC will be able to conduct the full-time curriculum and follow through the 7-year plan for our primary school students. The part-time English classes will ultimately be for secondary school students and young adults. All of our students will be prepared for the advanced language certification testing that will open new educational and employment doors for them.

 

We are very confident that our students will also be empowered to play a positive role in our Cambodian society and the world.  In times like this, we’re reminded of how connected we all are. Thank you for being part of our community. Without you, none of it is possible. Your impact will be long lasting and the people of Cambodia thank you most wholeheartedly.

 

Sincerely

Chhaiya IM

Founder and Headmaster, ODC Organization

P.S.  For those interested in even more detail, please follow this link to our 2020 Annual Report.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Yb51kDjhli5yDtC8Plq9PduAetMVQ8Jk/view?usp=sharing

Oct 26, 2020

Third Quarterly Year Report- 2020

Dear Supporters, Teachers, Students, Parents and Family Members,

With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting everyday life, we hope you’re in good spirits and health!  We would like to begin by expressing our deepest gratitude for your continued support in these unpredictable and challenging times.

We had hope to reopen and welcome back our students to the classroom but unfortunately the Cambodian Ministry of Education has not given permission for NGOs to do so due to the ongoing pandemic. In the meantime, we have adapted to this new reality of non-contact learning and found innovative and creative ways to engage our students and reach out to our community safely. Our teachers continue to work tirelessly to connect with our students daily, via telephone or/and the internet. Educational materials are distributed weekly and students’ progress are closely monitored.  These new approaches have provided opportunities for the teachers and students to utilize technology as a fun and effective way to learn. We are extremely proud of our ODC staff, students and parents who continue to show tremendous resilience during these uncertain times. 

ODC has taken advantage of this time to provide additional professional development to our teachers by upskilling their IT competency and introducing creative and more inclusive teaching strategies. Teachers are undertaking an advanced English course to further improve their own English proficiency. They are looking forward to putting into practice their new skills and further engaging their students whenever they are allowed to return to the classroom. 

Our Teaching Scholarship program has begun with three young trainees who have a real passion for teaching English to young children. They are learning valuable professional skills that will assist them in their future career. They will act as Teacher Assistants at ODC when the school reopens. They are very keen to share their own experiences with students. The ODC Merit Scholarship introduced in July identified three students with outstanding academic potential whose families were particularly devasted by Covid-19. ODC has been able to provide some financial assistance to these families.

The pandemic has given us much time to reflect upon and evaluate our work. We are constantly seeking better ways to deliver our educational outcomes. After due consideration, we have decided to pilot an extended curriculum to include Maths, Science and Social Sciences and increase teacher-student contact time to two and a half hours daily.  The pilot program will commence in May 2021 and the first cohort of students will be children aged 5-6. This will expose them to the learning of English at an early age and broaden  their understanding in other important learning areas. All subjects will be instructed in English, with greater emphasis on the 4 macro-skills; listening, speaking, writing and reading. In December we will be providing you with more detail on the scope and intended impact of this new program. We are very confident that it will enable our students to achieve much more advanced educational outcomes and empower our students through education.  Our dream is that our students will be able to access greater opportunities to build a bright future for themselves and the country. 

In times like this, we’re reminded of how connected we all are. Thank you for being part of our community. Without you, none of it is possible. Your impact will be long lasting and the people of Cambodia thank you most wholeheartedly.

Sincerely

Chhaiya IM

Founder and Headmaster, ODC Organization

Jul 7, 2020

ODC Organization Mid-Year Letter --2020

Dear Supporters, Teachers, Students, Parents and Family Members,

These are truly remarkable times and we would like to begin by expressing our deepest gratitude for the diverse and generous contributions each of you have made this year in helping ODC deliver on its educational mission.  Even in the face of unprecedented adversity, your sustained commitment has helped us to not just endure, but to innovate.  To find new, and often improved ways, to engage with our students.  To bring to them not just English, but to demonstrate real life skills such as resilience, creativity and grit.  To show them first-hand just how important their success is, to all of us. 

As 2020 began, our focus was on delivering a newly created curriculum and experimenting with new classroom organizational plans.  To fund our increasing student enrollment and bring in new educational resources we applied for and were accepted into the Spring 2020 GlobalGiving Accelerator competition.  Our target goal(s), for dollars and new donors, was dramatically exceeded.  Amongst 674 globally distributed charitable organizations who were also in the 2020 GlobalGiving Accelerator Program, ODC's fundraising campaign concluded in 5th overall place (i.e. among the top 1%) and in so doing also secured generous matching funds!  

Midway during the GlobalGiving fundraising campaign the Covid-19 pandemic had reached Cambodia and in response the Education Ministry closed all schools. ODC closed immediately. Yet we remained committed to providing payroll support to our teachers and to finding safe ways to still reach our students.  Numerous distance learning approaches were evaluated and ODC parents surveyed to determine which approaches could work best in their home settings.   Given resource limitations – lack of internet, only modest availability of smart phones and the expressed preferences of parents – the ODC staff developed a distance learning educational system based on printed worksheets and weekly cell phone call check-ins with each student. Using socially distanced and mask/glove/hygiene safety precautions, each student’s weekly material is distributed in packets to parents’ along with graded materials from the week prior. Over 90% of student/families have participated in ODC’s distance learning program and the feedback from parents has been highly encouraging.

During the absence of children, we have been able to make important technology upgrades to our classrooms that will further enable our use of the internet and multimedia in teaching.  These include LCD projectors and speakers as well additional copy/printing capabilities.  Our classroom designs and class schedules have also been revisited to support the expected requirements for ensuring safety given Covid-19.

On July 3, the Education Mistry announced their intention to begin re-opening schools across Cambodia.  The precise schedule has not been fully detailed, and schools will be re-opened in accordance with their ability to provide safety precautions.  ODC expects to be re-opening soon in conjunction and in compliance with these new guidelines.   While we are thrilled to begin to put the Covid-19 closure behind us, we know that the pandemic situation is fragile, and the status in Cambodia can rapidly change –which may require us to close yet again.  If this becomes true, we will be remarkably, more prepared.  What we have learned during this crisis has proven to be invaluable.  We have new ways to teach, new levels of engagement with our student/families, and these we will be certain to nurture well beyond the pandemic.

The economic hardship unleashed by Covid-19 in our tourist dependent region will be long lasting.   As we seek to empower our student’s future through education, we may have to find near-term creative ways to help them (and their families) endure these economic challenges as well.  To begin, we have already established two new ODC scholarship programs.  More details on these will be forthcoming.

In closing, we simply cannot do what we do without you.   Please know that we are endlessly grateful.  Your impact on Cambodia will be long lasting.

Sincerely

Chhaiya IM

Founder and Headmaster, ODC Organization

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.