Thousands of Cambodian children grow up illiterate, with few educational options. The Sharing Foundation’s Khmer literacy school helps farm children learn their native alphabet and numbers well enough to attend elementary school. Its English Language Program offers village students, ages 8-18, the opportunity to learn Cambodia’s language of commerce, allowing them to obtain jobs in tourism and word processing. These students are so dedicated that some meet on their own to study on weekends.
The literacy school runs three sessions a day for 120 children of Roteang village’s poorest families. Ten bilingual Cambodian college graduates teach English to 500 students in 19 sections offered daily after school hours at the village school.
The ability to read and write offers a route out of poverty. Top students in the English program are chosen for high school and college sponsorships; those who graduate are often first in their impoverished families.