My friend and colleague, Lynette Lanham, is celebrating a significant birthday early next year by asking her friends and colleagues to support the construction of a school in Cambodia.
What a wonderful idea!
Lynette travelled to Cambodia last year and was entranced by the beauty of the country while becoming increasingly aware of the ongoing legacy of the murderous policies of Pol Pot in the 1970s. Lynette wrote in an email about this trip:
When we went to Cambodia in April, I was shocked by the poverty and destruction, but in awe of the resilience of the people – especially the children. One of the things that was most confronting for us as teachers and students was to be in a torture prison which was a converted school. Schools are meant to be safe places.
Lynette goes on to say:
I then discovered Tabitha- an organisation that creates opportunities by building wells, houses and, more recently, schools. Every cent donated to this organisation goes to the project- there are no administrative costs.
cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Earth Hour Global
Lynette is determined to raise $50 000 and I encourage you to support this vision for the children and communities of Cambodia by clicking here to donate, linking to this post, RT-ing on Twitter or promoting in anyway possible.
You may wish to read more about Tabitha, including these impressive testimonials.
Please give generously!
SLIDER IMAGE : cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by kfcatles: http://flickr.com/photos/42407623@N05/5420411270/
The only problem with building a school in Cambodia is that you don’t help the poor, unless the school doesn’t force kids to buy uniforms, books and stationery. This is the catch with schooling over there.
Uniforms are compulsory, but many families can’t afford them. Same with books.
I’m sure that Tabitha understands this, though.
I can’t really speak for Tabitha, but my understanding is that Tabitha is planning schools in communities they are already supporting by creating employment, building wells and houses. This is having a positive impact on the economy of these communities and freeing up the children to go to school. Existing schools are over-crowded and/or new ones are needed. Tabitha hands the schools to local governments to run. They will have two shifts of students each day.
In a country where Pol Pot deliberately set out to destroy education and the educated, there has to be a starting point, surely…let’s do something!
Tabitha’s sole purpose is to help Cambodia’s poorest families break out of the cycle of poverty.
This is achieved by assisting 30,000 families save for life changing items. Some income producing, some bare essentials such as access to fresh water and new homes. The program has been very successful with over 300,000 Cambodians having already ‘graduated from poverty’ and now living their lives with dignity.
A few years back we observed that a result of the economic improvement experienced from families working with Tabitha, was that school participation rates were dramatically increasing – from as low as 15% to as high as 85%. The local government schools had no chance of coping with such as increase. Hence, with the help from some Tabitha supporters, we decided that in order to continue their economic development, we needed to accelerate the building of schools where that were desperately needed.
You are right about the two main barriers to entry for school; 1. hunger and health, & 2. uniforms. Tabitha’s family development program addresses these very issues. Please visit http://www.tabitha.org.au more information.
I love the fact that people like Lynette, a committed educator and someone touched by the plight of Cambodians, are prepared to tackle a goal help Tabitha build one more school.
Vincent (long time Tabitha volunteer)
I note that Lynette has raised almost SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS in less than a week!
What a start!
THanks Lynette and Vincent for your replies.
I have seen in Angkor Thom district what Vincent is talking about: students being able to go to school due to the increased financial position of the family. It’s hard for us to understand sending a 12 year old to paid work at a nearby farm, rather than going to school, but when families simply can’t meet their own day-to-day needs, what other option is there?
Families like this require economic education: the provision of an understanding of how to better their position in the long term. Again, a difficult task, but one that is needed to break the poverty cycle.
Rice and sugar are such high-yield and fast growing crops, but bring in little money. Other options like mangoes or other fruits reap greater financial rewards, but take a few years to ‘bear fruit’. Perhaps greater access to education can help Cambodian children (and their families) to develop an understanding of this and to generate a more positive future.
Well done, Tabitha (and volunteers such as Vincent!). This beautiful country is beginning to rebuild itself thanks to programs such as yours!