Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia

by Trailblazer Foundation
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia
Reduce Education Barriers in Rural Cambodia

Every child deserves a quality education. In Cambodia, many students fall behind, especially those in poor rural areas. Although there has been progress made to include adolescents with disabilities, ethnic minorities and students living in poor communities, students are still falling behind in their development. In a 2018 UNICEF report, only 27% of 3 to 5 year olds are on track in literacy and numeracy, and when they reach 17 years of age 55% of those students have dropped out of school for various reasons. The lack of quality learning, combined with deficient nutrition and poor health, leaves rural students developmentaly behind.

This is where health relates to education. If a student does not have access to clean drinking water and good sanitation, they get sick and are unable to attend school. Bad water leads to a number of health issues, malnutrition being one. Another factor that impacts the nutrition and health conditions of students is the lack of basic infrastructure, this includes WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities.

To help address this challenge, Trailblazer constructed a water filtration / hand washing station at the Kok Dong Primary School. Kok Dong Primary School is located 63km from Siem Reap city. It is located in the most populated village in the area. Kok Dong village has a total population of 1,195 people within the 280 families living there. The school serves 272 students who are the average primary school ages - under 11 years old. It is estmated that 72 new students will grow the student population each year.

The water filtration / hand washing station that Trailblazer constructed plays a critical role in helping improve and maintain the health of the students who attend Kok Dong Primary School now and into the future. The community also benefits from the water filtration / hand washing station because villagers are welcome to collect filtered water in containers to take home for use by the entire family, whereby improving the health and nutrition of these families in the village.

We are deeply grateful for the donor who made this water filtration / hand washing station project a success. The livelihoods of Kok Dong students and their families will benefit long into the future because of this project. Students will have a greater chance to thrive and continue their education, leading to more opportunities to succeed in their life.

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Truck load of bikes
Truck load of bikes

Schools are open again and we are proud to report that 113 bicycles were delivered to students at Srah Primary School on January 18, 2022. Although you may not be able to see their smiles because of the face masks, there were a 113 very happy students.

You may not know that getting a bicycle from Trailblazer involves several conditions that happen behind the scene. Students who receive a bicycle must have met government criteria to determine their level of poverty. The poorest to poor rated students are eligible to get a bicycle.

Identification of poor households are based on interviewing households using a questionnaire prepared by the Ministry of Planning. The questionnaire includes a number of poverty indicators below:

  • Housing condition, which includes roof, wall, area, house quality (and specification of whether it is the household’s property or is rented).
  • Size of legally owned residential land and productive agricultural land.
  • Main source of income from growing crops or fishing, or other activities.
  • Animal raising (such as raising fish for sale).
  • Ability to meet food requirements.
  • Number of household members unable to earn an income, relative to the total number of household members.
  • Material goods and equipment.
  • Means of transportation.
  • Unexpected problems or serious crises which cause the households to lose income, experience food shortages, sell property, or go into debt.
  • Number of children aged 6 to 11 years who missed school, and the reasons.
  • Situations which cause deterioration of the household’s living conditions, such as the head of household (husband or wife) suffering from serious disability or chronic disease, households consisting exclusively of elderly members, households with orphans living with them, female-headed households with many young children, or households with no members with the capacity to work.
  • Situations which improve the household’s living conditions, such as assistance from relatives or other income sources.

Not only do recipient students need to meet the government poor identification criteria, Trailblazer requires the student (and their parents) to contribute $1.75USD into their village's Village Fund to have buy in on the project. The student and his/her parent(s) also sign an agreement to maintain the bicycle, repair it if it breaks, to stay in school, and to get good grades. Others who sign this agreement include the Ministry of Education representative, the school's head teacher, and Trailblazer.

We are thankful for all the donors who made this bicycle delivery a reality, and for making a real impact in the lives of the students and their families. Thank you.

line of bikes
line of bikes
Bicycle recipients
Bicycle recipients
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New uniform
New uniform

Much of what Trailbalzer does, as a rural community development organization, is to help break the cycle of poverty. One way to do that is to ensure children have the ability to attend school. For students living in rural areas where Trailblazer works, attending school can often be a challenge.

Some students may live too far from the school in their area, and without a bicycle they might drop out. Trailblazer delivers bicycles throughout the year to address this issue. Also, the government requires that students wear an approved school uniform. A uniform can be costly for a poor family. Therefore, Trailblazer provides school uniforms to the poorest of poor students to help alleviate this burden for their families. A simple thing as a school uniform can help provide the ability for a student to go to school, thereby improving attendance and reducing dropout rates.

According to the United Nations, an educated girl is more likely able to plan when she marries, begins having children, and can better look after her health and that of her family. Nearly 12 million children could be spared from undernutrition if their mothers had received a secondary education. This makes Trailblazer’s efforts even more relevant and vital.

Trailblazer's goal each year is to provide a school uniform for a minimum of 300 students, which is an average student population identified as poor and in need of a uniform at the primary level. A uniform costs $15 USD. We wish to deeply thank all the donors who made this year's school uniform delivery a success.

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Mask delivery
Mask delivery

Cambodia is suffering the affects of Covid-19 and the Delta variant, along with other countries around the world. The government has taken several steps to control the spread of the virus and protect their population through vaccinations, mask and social distancing mandates, closures, and lockdowns.

Schools across the country have been suspended since March 2021. However, the virus is still active and protection is vitally needed for students and their families. Therefore, to help combat the spread of the virus among village communities where Covid-19 is active, Trailblazer staff delivered 1,100 cloth masks to the villages of Chhouk and Bos in Knarpo commune, Soutr Nikum district. These masks were made by village women, giving them the opportunity to earn some income, as wells as assist in protecting the health situation of their communities.

Although the intent had been to make the mask delivery directly to students, with the schools being closed, Trailblazer staff instead met with 15 representatives of these two villages. The representatives collected their village’s portion of the masks and agreed to take the masks back to their communities and distribute them to families and students alike.

This mask delivery was made possible because of a generous donation. We greatly appreciate the wonderful support of our donors who make our efforts to protect and promote healthy communities, and provide a measure of safety for students while at home, and when they can return to school to continue their education in rural Cambodia.

Meeting with representatives
Meeting with representatives
representatives to receive masks
representatives to receive masks
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Sambi with her mother
Sambi with her mother

As Cambodia moved forward with reopening the 2020-2021 school year across the country, the government understood that educating their youth ultimately results in the country's economic progress and growth as a nation.

Since mid-March, Covid-19 has impacted education in Cambodia, especially in the rural areas, where online learning was more challenging due to the lack of electricity and the internet. By early September 2020, schools began to reopen in phases under strict government policies and regulations that put the welfare of students at the forefront.

Trailblazer's distributions of bicycles to rural students augments the government's efforts by giving students the ability to get to and from school so they can continue their education.

One such bicycle donation was to a 13 year old girl, Sambi, who studies in grade six at Beng Primary School. Sambi had previously traveled 15 kilometers to and from home to get to school. She used to have to walk, often alone, which was a concern for her parents. She was usually late to class, or even absent. Sambi told her parents that she wanted to quit school and to work to earn money instead because she didn't want to walk to school.

Her mother reported that Sambi would arrive home late for meals. She also felt bad for her daughter because Sambi really wanted to go to school and be on time, but it was simply too far to walk. Although Sambi was of an age to help earn an income by working with her mother, her mother did not want her to quit school.

Now Sambi has a bicycle from Trailblazer. She is happy and enjoying school once more. Sambi and her parents thank Trailblazer and the donor very much for the bicycle and the change it has made in Sambi's education and life.

Donor support is always greatly appreciated and does make a difference. Trailblazer thanks everyone who has contributed to the education of a rural student. A donation of $55 can provide a student with a bicycle - changing that student's life for the better.

Bicycle delivery to the school
Bicycle delivery to the school
Truck load of bicycles for distribution
Truck load of bicycles for distribution
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Organization Information

Trailblazer Foundation

Location: Fort Collins, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Trailblazerfdn
Project Leader:
Chris Coats
Executive Director
Fort Collins, CO United States
$1,901 raised of $5,000 goal
 
78 donations
$3,099 to go
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