Thursday, 19 July 2012

Stueng Hav and English Classes

Stueng Hav

Some time ago we were invited out to a fishing village at Stueng Hav (pronounced "Stung How"). You may remember the blog post about it, if not you can look back here.  One of the reasons to go, at the time was to look at what they were doing in terms of schooling for children.  They run a small two room centre, with disparate teaching under houses in the wider community, where it is too difficult for the kids to get to the centre itself.  One of the things you realise, if you stay for any period of time is, the wet season is just that, wet.  There is a complete lack of facilities for the kids to do anything outside when it rains.  It's either inside, or play in the mud outside which, while fun occasionally (what kid does not like playing in the mud?)  is not particularly practical when they must come back inside to continue schooling.

We were approached at the time by Sabine, from the German Charity "Future for Steng Hau" (Zukunft fuer Steng Hau e.V.) She asked if we would be interested in helping use some of the funds raised to construct a shelter on a raised slab to give the kids somewhere outdoors to play during the wet.  Initially we were a little reluctant (we only have limited finds of course)  but after experiencing the constant rain here we realised it made sense. We should have just listened to her long experience in the first place !  So we have committed USD$500 to an estimated cost of USD$1200 for the covers construction.  

Thet, one of the administrators from the M'lop Tapang charitable organisation is helping with the admin work and liaising with the local Khmer workers. I will make sure I visit to see the construction taking place.  The work also provides jobs for local Khmer construction workers in the village so that helps a little as well. Unfortunately steel is expensive (the steel probably come as Iron Ore from West Aus. to Cambodia via a steel mill in China. Everyone saying the price of Iron Ore is good may want to come here and see where it to equates compared to expensive steel) and the place has lots of termites, so wood would (always wanted to use that in a sentence !) not last.  We'll keep you updated as this project progresses.

English Classes at Goodwill Centre

One of the projects that has been driven by the local community was a desire for more English Classes.

Night time English Classes - Goodwill Center

Currently we run night time classes that are well attended by the teenagers and adults from the village but there is a genuine need for extra evening classes for the younger children who receive only minimal English in public school.  A quick word of  mouth check saw 25 eager pupils wanting to attend, which is about all we can handle.  The level of enthusiasm to attend decent schooling is astounding, and often in complete contrast to experiences in Aus.

We approached the HtCC Board, who majority fund the centre. They are struggling a little financially, with the devaluation of the British Pound against the USD (the defacto currency over here), coupled with the recent doubling in rent for the Center and could only commit $18 a month to the $50 needed for the teachers salary.  We decided that it was such a worthwhile project we would make up the difference, committing to a years worth of funding.  We had already found a teacher, someone who had taught at the centre previously but left to complete his Bachelor of  Ed. so the students and teachers are familiar with him and all spoke highly of him.  His wage from us will be $50 per month (part time $18 from HtCC and $32 from our donors).  If we can we will extend the project further, if funds are available. 


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