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Creating opportunities for people with disability

Schools in Cambodia are traditionally not equipped for children with disability, but ChildFund Cambodia’s New Generation Schools are providing a safe environment where all students can reach their potential.

Nine-year-old Vireak was born with no left foot, making it difficult for him to participate in sports and games. Since he started studying at his local New Generation School, supported by ChildFund in cooperation with local organisation Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, life has become much easier.

His school is equipped with new infrastructure, and the staff and community have become more involved with students, through investments in quality teaching, school leadership and management, and community engagement.

“I am happy to see my school looking new, clean and equipped with books, materials and tablet computers. I am happy to learn and play around with all these new things,” Vireak says.

He has also noticed a change in the attitudes of his classmates and teachers. “I don’t feel any discrimination from my classmates nor my teacher,” he says. “I feel motivated and they are supportive. I like to go to the library to use the reading kit, the tablet and watch educational videos during break time.”

 

Without these changes, children with disability are often excluded from education.

Sina, who is 30 years old, has been deaf since she was five years old and was not able to continue  school past Grade 9.

Although she is a talented mathematician, she has had limited opportunities because of her lack of education.

She was living at home helping her parents look after their livestock before she decided to take part in a ChildFund-supported project where she learned to become a tailor.

“I am so happy to be able to make clothes,” Sina says. “Sometimes I was very lonely at home, it made me very sad.”

Sina plans to use her new skills to develop a business, which will be more fulfilling and let her make the most of her talents. It will also given her greater independence.

Sina’s mother, Samorn, says she has noticed a major difference in her daughter since attending the training.

“I did not know how unhappy she was, but I can see the difference now,” Samorn says.

“She is so happy to have learned this skills and I am so happy to see her smiling.”

Sewing lessons have given Sina an opportunity to reach her potential

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