Thursday, 22 October 2015

English Teacher Ky Hao Brings Hope and Valuable Skills to Cambodian Youth

Empowering Youth in Cambodia’s (EYC) Lakeside School is one of the projects that is supported by CamKids. The School opened in 2008 and offers daily English and computer classes as well as leadership training, sports, scholarships, medical and dental treatment to marginalized young people in one of Phnom Penh’s slum communities. 
From 5:30 until 8:30pm each evening Lakeside School has over 60 students, split between three levels of English training that fill the wooden classroom which boom with laughter. Teacher Ky Hao, who has been teaching at EYC’s school since 2009, knows well the responsibility placed upon him and the importance that his students gain English language skills before entering the workforce. He is widely praised by his students as being an excellent teacher and periodic reviews put him as one of the top teachers at EYC. 
Ky Hao knows that the students have long days between work and studies, so having a fun learning environment in the evening is key to their success. Ky Hao knows first hand what the students are facing, since he starts his 3 hour teaching shift straight after his full time teaching job ends. In addition to 11 hour working days, he also is studying for his masters of education at weekends and has a young daughter. Ky Hao graduated with a BA in English Education. 
Ky Hao teaches his students both English and morality, often creating lessons based on local current events and including discussions to get students to think about life choices. He also encourages them to become involved in social work, such as community cleaning, which EYC regularly coordinates. When asked why he has stayed teaching at Lakeside School for over 6 years, he replies that this is “because of the commitment of my students, their hard-work and willingness to push themselves. I stay inspired, even though working in the community brings challenges such as gangs, drunks, drug users, domestic fights and garbage, all of which regularly interrupt class.” 
Many students that have completed his classes are now obtaining jobs that they would not have qualified for otherwise. “When my students are in class they are 90-100% active. As a result we see good results, such as a former student called Kungkea, who started with very few words of English but he progressed so that his English would now be considered as fluent and he now works as a translator” said Ky Hao. 
A male student, Vannda, 21, said, “I’ve learned English with my teacher for almost one year and I observe that he has a remarkable art in teaching. His teaching methodology is friendly and effective. When I started my English was very poor but because he always uses English in the classroom I have improved fast.” A female student, Metta, also 21, said “It was my only option to study at Lakeside School because it is free of charge and I don’t have any spare money. However, I have found that it is the best school and the quality of the teaching is very high.” 
Ky Hao said he is quite happy to share his skills and to be involved with the great efforts which EYC is making, to help students in poor communities and to give them better life opportunities. With 142 students attending classes daily, Lakeside School has been a pillar in the community and is appreciative of the great partnership with CamKids. EYC’s country manager Drew McDowell says “While everyone involved has an important role, without the support of CamKids and their generous donors the rest could not be possible. Thanks for your support.

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Monday, 5 October 2015

CCC School Update

CamKids had a meeting with 165 parents at the end of August to review the 2014 -2015 school year results and to plan ahead for 2015-2016. The final exam was taken at the end of August and the majority of our students passed. A small number failed – this was mostly due to family circumstances as these 13 children were needed to help on their family farms with looking after livestock, rice planting and harvesting.
We also ran a popular summer school program for 2 months in September and October to keep the children occupied through the long break and to improve their chances for jumping up a grade. This a first for the area as the government schools don’t run anything similar. We set another exam for our children at the end of the summer course and found that those 13 students had benefited from the course and passed the test. So all of of our 279 students at CCC school were able to go up to the next grade. We are very pleased that these 13 children managed to catch up and that their families understand the benefit of education.
The new school year started on 2nd November 2015 with 78 new students joining the school. All the children were provided with school supplies - study materials, uniforms and shoes. This year, we will be running a full primary school covering kindergarten to Grade 6 and we now have nearly 400 children studying at CCC.
Piseth continues to run our popular English classes and he does a wonderful job teaching English to the children. There are now 194 kids studying English with Piseth and they are divided into 6 classes running from the early morning till late evening.
During the summer school program, we were really pleased that three volunteers, 2 boys from GRADE SORELL and a girl from the village helped with teaching English to their juniors at CCC. Now, Mr. Ek Sophorn, a student of Piseth’s and a security guard, also helps teach English to grade 2 and 3 kids during his break time. It is great to see that Piseth’s students are now able to teach English to their juniors.
The vegetable garden is doing very well – with the kids involved in growing vegetables such as morning glory, mints, salads, cabbages, okra, zucchini, and gourd. The fish are growing well too and they are nearly big enough for harvesting. We believe that our fish pond and vegetable garden are not the only a food resource but also a life skills program that the students can apply at home helping their families. This shows that education is not only a lesson learnt inside the class room but one also learnt from everything that surrounds you. To sustain the biodegister and garden, each student was asked to collect and bring cow and other manure to school – with each child bringing about 30kgs, we collected enough manure to maintain the garden for the whole year!


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