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Children accessing education for the first time in generations

A newly built primary school in a remote community in Cambodia, is bringing hope for a brighter future to the children that live there.

For children and young people in remote parts of the country, travelling to school isn’t always easy. In one village in the Province, the closest school is about six kilometres away, and requires driving down a rocky, muddy road to the foot of the mountain.

Neamchea and his family have lived in this village for generations – a village where just 30 per cent of the 72 households in the village have been able to send their children to school.

Sitting next to his six-year-old grandson, he said, “Most locals who are farmers could neither afford to have suitable vehicles nor the spare time to take their children to school.”

Den, aged six.

Because of these challenges, many children and young people here haven’t been able to access a formal education. But with support from ChildFund Cambodia, this is changing.

Working with a local partner Khmer NGO for Education, (KHEN), a new school was built on the top of the mountain, right in the middle of the community so that all children and young people could attend. Together, we recruited and trained local volunteer teachers and supported them to become state recognised teachers.

Building a school in such a mountainous, remote area was a challenge. Moving equipment up and down the poor roads meant that the construction took longer than usual.

In the construction process, local authorities had to work together to remove any remaining mines that might be buried in the community to make sure children and staff would be safe.

“Now most of the residents can send their children to school because they don’t have to spend time driving their kids to the base of the mountain. They can simply let them walk to school, just like I can with my grandson,” said Neamchea.

Neamchea’s grandson, Den, said: “Me and my classmates prefer to attend the new school since it is near our home and has more color than the previous one. Compared to the old school, the new school is closer. I enjoy it.”

Neamchea says that Den will have an exciting future now that he can access an education and hopes he will be able to have a good job one day. “This new school will brighten the future of my grandson and all the children in the village.”

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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