In and around Siem Reap, a number of small village schools have been set up to give children a free English education, additional to their standard school classes. The aim is to encourage the learning of English as a second language so that young people are more likely to secure employment in the growing tourism and hospitality services, in and around Siem Reap where the world famous Angkor Wat temples are situated.
In 2006, Claire & Bob Carroll met Mr Togh Main, a Buddhist monk at the time, who had already started a small school for the purpose of teaching English to children and young people. Claire and Bob began supporting Volunteer Development Children’s Association (VDCA), and since then schools supported by Cambodian Schools of Hope Inc have increased to be between 3-5 at any one time. Some schools eventually gain other long-term support and no longer need the group’s assistance, which gives the group the opportunity to assist other needy schools.
There are schools situated in the suburbs of Siem Reap (Little School Cafe, Treak Community Centre) and others are 30-60 minutes out of Siem Reap in village areas (eg VDCA Anlung Pi, New Hope of Children Association – NHCA). The local commune often supports the schools in their area as well, especially with land.
Whilst there are many young Cambodian teachers providing the English lessons, volunteers are an important addition to the classroom to share the lessons, support and mentor the teachers and also take classes, especially in schools where there may be a lack of teachers.
Some Past Comments from the Schools
“Anlung Pi Free School is doing well. The students are still regularly attending classes with support from their families and teachers who keep them motivated and inspired to come to school. The Anlung Pi Free School always works closely with families and children and encourages parents to keep sending their children to attend school. Rural families always wish to send their children to work at farms or labour to earn profit to feed their daily life.”
“Treak Community Centre runs free English classes that are open to all. We now have over 200 students and children of all ages with many attending more than one class where they can. Our English classes help people to get better jobs and the nursery encourages the poorest children, and their families, to see the value of education and get a real kick-start to their lives. We also keep records of student attendance, punctuality, and performance, and we’re seeing improvements across all three areas.”
“Thank you for support to New Hope of Children Association (NHCA, formerly AIOS) and the children, now everything is going very well and all the children are very happy with the new (School) area and they are trying to study very hard. Thank you all for your kind and generous support and now NHCA is start building the school kitchen and the office room and it will be finished in a few weeks.”