During the past quarter, we are pleased to share that not a single PEI scholar dropped out of school, demonstrating the growing commitment to education in Mondulkiri’s Phnong communities—even in the face of extreme poverty. In late September, four of our teacher trainees graduated from the Provincial Teachers Training College in Kampong Cham, two of which are already teaching in (predominantly Phnong) primary school classrooms in their home districts, showcasing the multiplier effect of investing in capable linguistic minority school teachers.
In the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, we launched a high-profile enrollment campaign, which was conducted by 10 teachers, 105 students and 30 villagers/parents. The central message of the campaign was “Sending Children to School is Like Saving Wealth for Your Children,” and poor villagers across the program area were informed of Cambodia’s Right to Education law, and admonished to enroll their children in local schools at the start of the academic year. The impact of such campaigns is well-established; MIT’s Poverty Action Lab reports that every $100 spent on education advocacy in the developing world results in 40 additional years of education. Recognizing this substantial return on investment, all of Lotus Outreach’s scholarship programs incorporate awareness events, public forms and enrollment campaigns designed to increase community understanding of the importance of sending children to school.
The Phnong Cultural Center continues to thrive, and we recently purchased eleven new Phnong artifacts to display to tourists, school children and broader members of the community. The program additionally collaborated with the Vinacomine Company to bring beds, mats, mosquito nets and blankets to the children living in the Oraing school dormitory.
The Phnong communities in Mondulkiri are recognized as some of the most isolated on the planet, and very few education and development programs are reaching them—despite demonstrable need. We’d like to give a special thanks to you for giving Lotus Outreach the opportunity to expand education and cultural preservation in these villages, and we look forward to watching the program’s success unfold over the months and years ahead.
All of us at Lotus Outreach wish you health, peace and prosperity in 2013.
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