Support 2000 Students in Cambodia

by This Life Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia
Support 2000 Students in Cambodia

Schools have now re-oped in Cambodia as 80% of Cambodia's population over the age of 12 is now vaccinated, with an even higher percentage of teachers vaccinated. The Cambodian Ministry of Education announced the reopening of public and private schools nationwide from November 1, with a request for strict adherence to COVID-19 measures that were set by the Ministry of Health to prevent infections in classrooms.  Each classroom must allow only 15 to 20 students to study at a time to maintain distance.  Regular hand washing, mask-wearing are also required and the sale of food inside schools is prohibited.

To support the school reopening in accordance with the principle requirements, the This Life in Schools (TLIS) program team worked with local authorities, SSC, and teachers.  Small group meetings were held with parents and students in all villages covered by schools. These meetings and announcements helped them to understand the requirements of schools and what responsibility the parents have.  The parents’ responsibilities included ensuring their children were well prepared with masks, food, and drinking water to go to school. Schools had to ensure that the school environment was clean which included classrooms, toilets, and to have water systems set up.  The schools had to prepare first aid, thermometer, masks, alcohol, hand washing soap, and gels to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

 "I feel so happy to return to school because studying with teachers in class is much better than learning online,". She added “ Not only me, but my friends also think the same as me too,” one student named Seyha said. 

Mr. Ey Hang, is the Vice Chief of SSC in Hun Sen Svay Chek lower secondary school and the 2nd Deputy of Svay Chek commune. He became the Vice Chief of the School Support Committee when the program started in early 2020.  When the early program started, the SSC members were not fully participating in the school development,  his collaboration and relationship with the school were not very strong.

However, after six months of program implementation, he has done a lot of work to serve the community.  He has contributed to the improvement of the education sector through close collaboration and active involvement with all levels of stakeholders in both government and NGOs partners. He is very active within the SSC, and has worked to mobilize significant resources from all relevant partners and donated his own resources to support the school activities development plans. His efforts in resource mobilization have been supporting improvement in the quality of education, school environment, school infrastructure, partners’ involvement, and increased community awareness of the importance of education.

Mr. Hang said “I am very happy to join the school support committee because I want to help in developing my school and community and I want to see a lot of achievements occurring in the school which improve the quality of education, school environment, and school management. I would like to commit that I am going to participate in all the school's development activities”.

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Students participating in  a Learning Club
Students participating in a Learning Club

Efforts to prevent the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic have seen the prolonged closure of all schools in Cambodia on two separate occasions, affecting over three million children. 

Giving children alternative ways to learn and rebuild a routine has been a critical part of the response of the This Life In Schools (TLIS) program. We have supported schools to adapt and create safe environments for children when they have been able to return between the closures. Additionally, we have given school principals and teachers guidance and practical tips on how to deliver teaching and learning while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. 

Other areas supported include working with local authorities, communities and teachers to identify potential opportunities to employ distance learning based on the circumstances within communities. Education campaigns, worksheets for students, village based small learning groups, and online video conferencing platforms such Google Meet, Telegram, Zoom, Facebook and Messenger, were used to facilitate student learning where possible. 

Despite the challenges our support of students, schools and communities has resulted in 75% of students passing exams in grades 7 and 8, 10% decrease in students dropping out of school and an 80% enrolment rate from grade 6 (from feeder primary school) to Lower Secondary Schools.

Mr Piseth is 48 years old, a village chief and also a School Support Committee (SSC) chairperson of a school, about 83 kilometers from Siem Reap town. He was born in this community, and has lived there all his life. He has three children who all attend the school. 

Mr Piseth said “at the beginning of 2020, This Life Cambodia started working in partnership with the Maung Lower Secondary School. I am very happy because I recognised many issues facing the school at the ground level, such as school and community engagement, learning conditions, and education materials. The school is facing a major problem during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused several closures, so it did not have enough material to properly implement distance teaching and learning. 

With the TLC program implementation, and through funding and technical support, the school environment has changed, and become more beautiful. The SSC and local authorities are more engaged to support school development plan activities, we have some materials to practice distance learning, and we are finding new ways to support students who cannot join online learning activities. I am so happy to be a part of this improvement”

With a large percentage of the Cambodian population receiving the Covid vaccination and the roll out of vaccinations for children aged 12 to 17, we are optimistic that schools will reopen soon and children can return to their classes at school.

We will update you with stories of children returning to schools. Thank you to the wonderful donors who are supporting this program. Your support has enabled them to be part of learning clubs and to receive their lessons in many different ways during these difficult times. 

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Piseth leading a Committee meeting
Piseth leading a Committee meeting

Thank you to all of our loyal supporters. Your  continuing  generosity during these difficult times is greatly appreciated.

Since our last report, Covid-19 has now started to spread throughout our Cambodian Communities.  Sadly, Covid-19 cases have increased dramatically as a result of community infection in  February to over 7,700 people who have been infected. This has resulted in schools being closed at different times and communities and cities being placed in lockdown.

The impact of Covid-19 is being felt, even more so now than ever, by the families we support.  However, we are continuing to support children and families across all of our programs.  Procedures have been introduced to ensure staff and our communities are kept  safe and  we are adhering to government guidelines.

Some of the 16  schools we support are providing a range of alternative learning options,including  children collecting school work and working on assignments at home, online learning and Community Learning Clubs being established. 

Despite all of the disruptions, there are many success stories  We’d like to share with you, the impact your support has made for Piseth.  

Piseth  is 21 years old and his life has changed because of the support he has received from your generosity and his community.

He is in grade 12 and also a chair of the Student Council in a High School 56 km from Siem Reap.  Last year, he was a general student council member but this year he became a leader of the Student Council. He wants to be a tax officer in the future. 

Piseth is from a very poor family, he is the eldest of 5 children.   His parents had to go to Thailand to earn money, therefore, he was left with his siblings in the care of his aunt. With no house or land to live in, his aunt let him build a house on her land through assistance from the School Support Committee (SCC) , teachers, and his friends.  

Life was difficult for Piseth, when he was in grade 9, he wanted to drop-out of school because of his economic position.  He thought he should get a job to earn some money.  However, through support from his teachers, SSC, and his friends, he decided to continue to study.  

He said “education has changed me a lot. I used to be shy and sometimes wasn't a good person, but now I can communicate with teachers, SSC, and other community members, I think about myself and my siblings’ future goals. I know what I should do to improve myself and the community. And now I have become more friendly to other people and other people also love me too. It comes from me getting  a high education”.

Piseth is an active person,and gives back to his community by being actively involved in fundraising to support school development plan activities, he takes the lead to improve the school environment, and he takes his time to teach other students below his grade or in the same grade to get a good learning performance. He is an outstanding student and good at poetry writing.

He added “As now I am in grade 12, I will try harder in study to get success and get a better job. I hope I will get success with my future goal. At the end, I would like to say thanks to everybody who has supported me”.

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This Life staff members program planning for 2021
This Life staff members program planning for 2021

Cambodia records first cases of COVID community transmission 

Cambodia made it to late November before recording its first case of COVID community transmission. The community transmission that occurred has been contained through swift action and thorough contact tracing, so the immediate threat to local people has passed, and as they say, crisis averted. 

When the community transmission cases were discovered, schools were once again ordered to close. This time, they have been directed to remain closed until the natural start of the 2021 school year on 11 January. The 2020 school year has been so heavily impacted that the formal testing for year 12 students was abandoned and every student eligible for the test has been awarded a passing grade. It's not yet known how university places will be awarded without the test results.

In this strange and unprecedented environment, This Life Cambodia continues to work with school committees and local community groups. In this way, we hope to ensure that the education of young people continues in some form despite the circumstances. Your donations through GlobalGiving allow us to continue the work we are doing to assist school communities. We are also ensuring that teachers who are supporting non-classroom-based learning are well-equipped and resourced to do so.

We're looking towards 2021 with excitement and hope. Please continue with us on this journey!

This Life in Schools program staff members
This Life in Schools program staff members
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Well, 2020 is the year of the unexpected!

Cambodian schools have been closed since the middle of March. Nearly six months on, there is news that government schools will open in stages this month. We’re excited about this news as it means that we will be able to recommence our work in schools face-to-face rather than remotely, as we have been doing for most of the year.

We’ve been busy behind the scenes doing what we can. This has included things like supporting the transition to online learning and ensuring that all of the school committees we work with have the skills to meet with us through zoom. This has certainly been an interesting time for us, and we have enjoyed the challenges we faced!

Other work we have been undertaking during the extended school closure includes planning and organising our training schedule to take advantage of the time remaining in the academic year. We have also been working with School Support Committees to improve school facilities while the schools are closed. We have worked with one school to undertake earthworks so that a new building can be constructed. The closures haven’t stopped us working, it has just changed the way that we work and the outcomes we have been able to achieve.

As always, we are beyond grateful for the support we receive from GlobalGiving. Schools are the cornerstones of the communities in which we work, and with your support through GlobalGiving, we have been able to take steps to improve outcomes for students in the future.

We know that 2020 will be remembered in history as a significantly disrupted period, and this makes your continued interest and support even more valuable to us.


The TLC team

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Organization Information

This Life Cambodia

Location: Siem Reap - Cambodia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tlcambodia
Project Leader:
Claire Backhouse
Siem Reap, Siem Reap Cambodia
$9,201 raised of $20,000 goal
114 donations
$10,799 to go
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