Our goal is to ensure that children living with HIV/AIDS and children who are affected by that illness through their relatives have an equal education and therefore equal future chances as all other children. Therefore, it is our goal to raise the school attendance rate to 97% in our schools by the end of 2021.
Education is the root of a better future. A better future for the children themselves and a better future for the whole country. However, in Cambodia there are still many students who struggle to finish school and therefore miss out on a proper education. The drop out rate of students between 14 and 16 is around 15%. This is caused by the necessity of starting to work to earn money at an early age. Furthermore, many parents do not have enough time and money to pay the fees for extra classes, to bring their kids to school, to properly look after them and thus to ensure their children’s regular school attendance.
To improve the children’s education we offer free education in 3 schools for vulnerable children. We teach 560 students English and basic life skills and give them a safe space to play where they can grow up, discover their own abilities and learn in a supportive, loving and safe environment. Salvation Centre Cambodia’s teachers follow our own curriculum. We focus on English conversation, listening and reading by using different methods and visual material such as videos, songs, drama sessions and books. Moreover, we educate our students in as many other fields as possible: mathematics, Khmer, history, science, music, dance, arts, crafts, gardening, drama, sports, environmental protection, hygiene and personal development. We have two schools in Siem Reap and one school in Phnom Penh. In all of these locations we educate children with or affected by HIV/Aids, orphans and vulnerable children in need who live in the area of the schools. Salvation Centre Cambodia also provides food, snacks, school uniforms and school materials for all students. Furthermore, we support the families of the children who are most in need with food and health supplies to ensure that the children have a dignified life and are able to attend school.
Being an informal educational agency, we have to work closely with local public schools, school supporting committees and parent associations to ensure that all vulnerable children have access to basic education both in SCC’s free Community schools and in the public schools. We also work together to conduct public campaigns regarding children’s education such as the international Children’s Day.
The institutional structures regarding education and children’s rights are not strong. Therefore, we support and improve these structures by supporting and conducting meetings in the villages and communes. We want to ensure that all communes that we work with strongly focus on education, child rights and child protection. Tragically, many communes do not pay enough attention to these matters and consequentially many parents are not aware of basic parenting tasks and skills. We are tackling that problem by conducting awareness sessions about skillful parenting, children’s rights and child protection. Furthermore, we are working with and supporting many organisations that are active in these fields: the Commune Committees for Women and Children, the District Women and Children Consultative Committees and the Safety Village Commune Committees. We strengthen the network between organisations ― governmental and non-governmental to ensure that they have a good base for advocacy regarding free information access, improvement of children education, skillful parenting and child protection.