Soe Rothana is 9 years old and goes to our SCC-CBE school in Phnom Penh. He and his three siblings cannot visit public school because their family cannot afford it. His father works in a hospital and his mother is a cleaner. Together they live in a house that costs 60$ each month, but they are not able to buy the school uniform and necessary school materials and cannot pay the unofficial costs for the teachers or the transportation to school. His father told us:
“My family sometimes has no food to eat besides salt and fish sauce”
This family is not the only one in that kind of situation in Cambodia. About 250.000 children are not registered in a school at all (however this number is decreasing rapidly) and many more do not attend regularly. The Cambodian law ensures everyone an obligatory 9 years of free education, but that does not reflect the reality. Due to the low salary of teachers they offer paid extra classes, without one can barely pass. Many families cannot afford to pay this money and their children are left far behind in class. Mostly in the rural areas it is common to pull out one’s children from school to let them work and earn money or to help in the household. Many families have always operated like that and need a lot of convincing to change their habits.
Education is the root for a better, sustainable and secure life for the student, his/her family and the whole society. Therefore, we opened 3 CBE-Schools were 560 vulnerable students get free education and support. Soe Rothana is in our SCC-CBE school in Phnom Penh and studies Khmer, English, drawing and music. Furthermore, he gets a free uniform, school materials, breakfast and snacks. He is a polite student who studies hard, patiently and with good results.
Our SCC-CBE schools give children like Soa Rothana a chance in life. We give them a safe place were they can learn, develop and enjoy their time so that they can grow up to be well educated and mature people who can lift themselves and their families out of poverty.