A School That Works!
Sustainability is a challenge in Cambodia. Right now, because the Cambodian government and education system are so weak, our on-going support of the school is necessary to keep the building functioning as an educational institution. 50% student drop out begins in third grade because children need to work. Most villagers in this region work chopping down trees to sell wood sticks for cooking fuel to the capital city of Phnom Penh. This activity is destroying the environment, the water supply, and the future of the children who attend our school.
WE AIM TO STOP THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL by bringing in vocational and life skills training that will empower students and families with different choices to make a living. Our goal is to make the Grady Grossman Primary School income-generating and self-supporting in 3 years to fund our school programs below. In doing so, we will conserve and protect the forest environment for future generations.
Read about The Abundant Forest Life Skills Training Center and take the sustainability challenge.
In 2003 we learned the Khmer teachers who are administered by the Cambodian Ministry of Education had no housing or pay and therefore could not consistently show up to teach. We began sending a monthly food stipend to 5 teachers, amounting to $120 per month and in 2005 we built a 4-room teacher residence. In 2006, with the student body topping 485, 2 more teachers were added to the food stipend program. We now send rice, dried fish, soup seasoning and fish sauce to feed 7 teachers totaling $160 each month. This support enables them to show up to teach everyday.
Eighty-three year old Em Luot has not taught music since the Khmer Rouge Regime murdered 90% of Cambodia’s artistic masters in the 1970’s. In May 2007, he began teaching 15 students at the Grady Grossman School, 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Two of the students are blind singers. The children practice on a set of traditional Khmer instruments constructed by hand by their teacher: the 2 string Trar Sor and Trar Ou, the guitar-like Takay, bamboo flutes, and a drum. We plan to collaborate with arts revival NGO, Cambodian Living Arts, to bring the first ever music program into a primary school curriculum in Cambodia. Our vision includes using music, drama and the arts as an entrepreneurial communication device to market student produced products and their conservation message. The students are excited to provide entertainment for weddings and tourists.
English & Computer Teacher: $1,750 Annual
As part of the American Assistance for Cambodia program, a single solar panel powered computer arrived at the school in October 2004 along with a computer and English language teacher named Din Narith. He is paid $60 month by American Assistance for Cambodia. 40 of the top students take his class, and most of the older children desperately desire to continue studying with him. His salary to continue this program is $1,750/year annual gift to American Assistance for Cambodia.
School Supplies: $500 – $800 Annual
The Cambodian School year goes from October through July. Each October we begin the year by sending school and art supplies to each child, and school uniforms to those who need them. In 2005 we also bought 15 bicycles to transport older children to secondary school for the first time. The bikes are property of the school, repair and maintenance managed by the school director.
Bi Lingual Library: $600 in 2005 — added as needed
In January 2005 we installed a bilingual library with 23 Khmer books, 42 English books, a globe, maps and atlases, and sturdy bookshelves. We also brought puzzles and educational toys. The children were THRILLED!! We will add more books as more Khmer Language titles come into print. If you know where we can find Khmer Language reference books: encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, etc., please contact us!
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