Stories

Literacy is a human right and a powerful tool for human and social development, poverty eradication, peace and democracy.

Many children in Cambodia have never had this right, especially in rural areas where schools are under-resourced and the standard of teaching is limited.

ChildFund Cambodia is increasing literacy rates in Cambodia by improving teaching, helping more children attend school, and providing new libraries.

Sreymao is a Grade 3 student in a school in rural Cambodia. When she was in Grade 2, her library was small and only had a limited selection of books.

While Sreymao and her schoolmates were on their school break, ChildFund built a new library and stocked it with a large selection of books and tablets.

ChildFund has upgraded more than 80 libraries in rural villages in Cambodia and built more than 12 new libraries for students like Sreymao.

“I am so happy that ChildFund built this new library that has many books, reading tools and tablets,” Sreymao says.

“The new library is also equipped with fans that make me comfortable in reading.”

The library has become a popular spot for Sreymao and her friends during their lunch breaks.

“During the two break times, I always go to library,” she says.

“Reading in the library helps improve my reading skill. When I can’t read some words, I ask the librarian.”

The books at Sreymao’s library connect her to the world and also bring to life the Khmer legends that are an important part of Cambodia’s history.

“I like reading legends as when I was young my grandma read legends to me,” Sreymao says.

 

In late 2017 a few members of our family donated a postie bike to ChildFund Australia to assist them with their work in Cambodia.

The classic postie bike, which we know so well in Australia for delivering our mail and parcels, enables ChildFund to deliver much needed supplies such as food, water and vaccinations to remote communities in Cambodia.

This year we travelled to Kratie Province, in northeast Cambodia, to deliver the bike. On that trip we visited some extremely poor and remote communities. They were some of the poorest communities in an already very poor country.

When we visited community mothers’ groups and primary schools we were stunned by the extent to which a lack of access to clean safe water impacted the lives of babies and children.

Cambodia has an extremely high level of child malnutrition and a lot of this can be attributed to not having access to clean water, which can result in extreme diarrhoea, dehydration, susceptibility to other related illnesses and, in many cases, death.

We returned from our trip, determined to help further. For a few thousand dollars we discovered we could build and install a working well that would save the lives of many children and families. It was crystal clear to Maureen, Melinda and me what we needed to do next, and so our Just Giving project was born.

Thanks to the generosity of family, friends and colleagues we exceeded our fundraising target for Just Giving and raised enough money to not only build a well for a remote community in Kratie Province, but also provide desperately needed supplies for the local medical centre. We are so excited that work on the well will commence very soon. ChildFund Australia and ChildFund Cambodia will oversee the project and have everything on the ground ready to go, now the funds have been raised.

For Maureen, Melinda and me it’s been a real eye opener, an education and also a real pleasure to spend time in Cambodia. Thank you to ChildFund Australia and to ChildFund Cambodia for your warm welcome and allowing us this extraordinary experience.

Arkoun.