The name of our project on GlobalGiving is titled "Help Destitute Moms with AIDS care for their kids". Speaking as a mom,myseslf, there are few things that are more important than trying to help our kids get the education that will prepare them for a better world. For the moms in our program, this effort is particularly important as education can help their children break the cycle of inherited poverty.
The new school year will soon start in Cambodia. In preparation for each new year students are expected to turn up for the new school year prepared and adequately equipped.
In Cambodia, public school students are required to have a uniform, book bag and certain supplies. This seemingly easy goal for a middle class family is quite different for families similar to ours, whose tight budget would typically be used almost entirely for food and shelter, with little left over for education.
Because of this, a key part of our program to help the disadvantaged moms in our program, already impacted by AIDS, is to be certain that all of the students that are in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program, have the proper gear to begin school and real access to education. Costs for uniforms and supplies range from $25 to $35 per student, depending upon the grade level.
Typically, this means that a student will have
In Cambodia, the average education level achieved is just 6th grade, and we are so proud that the children our program are staying in school long past that.
Beyond the school “ kit” we provide, we also pay the extra weekly “ teacher fees”, a need that reflects the reality of underpaid public school teachers. If students can’t pay these fees, they are often ignored, ridiculed or even given failing grades by the teacher, so these fees are essential. Depending upon grade level, fees can be a much as $ 30 per month per student, or $ 300 per year, putting education costs for public education to about $ 325 per student per year.
Early in our efforts to help our students, we saw that some of our kids failed a grade and needed to repeat that grade. Some students, due to stresses in the family and other factors, had failed grades multiple times and were much older than other students just entering that grade. The shame of failure often caused students, even elementary students, to drop out of school. In recognition of this, we will also provide additional tutoring to try to keep children up to grade level and in school and early intervention is vitally important to this effort.
The chart below gives you an idea of the grading system for Cambodian students and as you can see, a failing grade really means that the student would have had a grade of under 50.
Our students have tried and thrived in school and we are proud to count our many middle school and high school graduates because of our focus on education in this program. One important outcome of this long term focus on education is that our graduates are getting better jobs after they leave school and are able to help support their families. Step by step, our efforts to educate the children in our AIDS Patient Family Support Program have enabled many of these students to break the cycle of inherited poverty and move gradually forward into Cambodia’s emerging middle class.
Our deepest thanks to all of our generous donors who have made this transformation possible.
Mark is in Cambodia this week and will be returning to the US on Sept 13 with an update, so please watch for our next post and program update.
Barbara & Mark
Percentage Grade Standard
85-100 A Excellent
79-84 B Very Good
70-78 C Good
65-69 D Fairly poor
50-64 E Fair
< 50 F Fail
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