CFC Founder Jamie Amelio's January trip to Siem Reap coincided with a celebration ceremony for those teachers, administration and staff who had marked ten years working for CFC. It is with immense pride and gratitude that we honor these caring individuals who have contributed so much to CFC's success over the years through their time, talent and committed leadership.
"My visit to Siem Reap at the beginning of the year was terrific. The schools were buzzing with student-led activities, teachers were active in every classroom that I visited, and the principals were more articulate than ever in expressing their needs and their gratitude for CFC's support. Every time I return to Cambodia, I notice something new. This time was no different. The political situation in Cambodia remains a challenge, but our CFC employees and communities are strong. They will continue to lead the country to a bright future through education. Things are better in Cambodia because of CFC, and I believe that our volunteer support and teacher training are the best in the world."
- Jamie Amelio, Founder and CEO
Growth in Cambodian leadership:
Introducing our new Deputy Directors
A central tenet of CFC's mission has always been to provide the training and tools that will enable our Cambodian teachers and staff to assume leadership positions to guide and sustain their schools. Year after year, we have witnessed the commitment and wise leadership demonstrated by our team in Siem Reap, and we are proud to announce an exciting organizational development that acknowledges, rewards and empowers these incredible Cambodian leaders. Early in 2019, these five individuals were promoted to the newly created position of Deputy Directors with increased responsiblity for the development and growth of CFC's cornerstone programs.
As Deputy Director of Early Childhood Education (ECE), Chan Vandy oversees the ECE curriculum across all CFC pre-schools and kindergarten programs. A former kindergarten teacher herself, Vandy has been working for CFC for fifteen years. She now proudly supports ECE department coordinators and teachers with a training system targeting age-appropriate lesson plans and teaching techniques.
A nine-year CFC veteran, Deputy Director of EducationSoung Sopheary helps develop CFC's overall education strategy and vision to ensure the curriculum meets the standards for primary school through high school. Before assuming this important role, she was a mentor teacher and Primary School Program Coordinator.
A CFC employee since 2014, Loeung Sophal is now the Deputy Director of Trips and Food for Thought. As "the face of CFC", Sophal interacts with all international volunteers and guests, facilitating their visits and introducing them to Cambodian and CFC culture. He also helps to promote CFC’s presence within the greater Siem Reap community and identifies local fundraising and development opportunities.
After six years with CFC, Voeun Vantha is now Deputy Director of STEM & Workforce Skills. In this role, he ensures quality implementation of ICT and ESL curriculum across all CFC schools. He works with the entire CFC management team to help them design and implement programs, and helps ensure that CFC schools have access to the resources and IT programs needed for students to effectively master 21st-century skills.
Since joining CFC in 2017, Tao Lay has assumed responsibility for ensuring quality curriculum and implementation within the Life Skills department which consists of Gender Equity, Career Preparation and our School Health Program. As Deputy Director of Life Skills, Lay's focus is to help students develop leadership and skills that will help them be productive after graduation.
Congratulations to all of these dynamic leaders who are working hard every day
to improve education in Cambodia!
Tanglin Trust School sets the bar high for philanthropy
The Junior Awards Scheme for Schools (JASS) at Tanglin Trust School in Singapore is offered to Year 6 students and gives them the opportunity to develop philanthropic awareness, complete their own fundraising, take part in service work and discover more about themselves and their world.
This year, the actions of these JASS students fit the definition of philanthropy perfectly – the desire to promote the welfare of others through time or money. Since October, the fifty-six children demonstrated great initiative and drive to see their individual fundraisers through in anticipation of their annual service trip to CFC schools. Sponsored bike rides, long distance runs, garage sales and film nights were just some of the many fundraisers organized by the students that raised over $20,000. However, their hard work and philanthropic attitude did not end there, as the group travelled to Siem Reap in early March and put the funds they raised to good work on various campus improvement projects.
The students woke early one morning to serve Food for Thought and worked hard every day at three different campuses to create a paved walkway, paint school gardens and lay the foundation for a volleyball court. They also enjoyed spending time with CFC students on a village ramble, playing soccer and practicing Khmer-English exchanges.
“The best thing about memories is making them, and the children will remember these experiences for a lifetime.” – Oliver Griffin, Tanglin Trust teacher
Thank you Tanglin Trust School for a truly incredible effort!
Science and creativity come together at
Aranh Sakor High School science fair
Collaboration between the Career Preparation and ICT programs culminated in a successful science fair at Aranh Sakor High School on March 1st with over 700 participants joining to celebrate "the importance of science and creativity". Teams participated from Aranh Sakor and Bakong High Schools, NGOs, and professional schools. Representatives from the provincial education department gave speeches to inspire and motivate students and to create excitement for STEM classes and careers.
Participants were asked to create products to solve environmental issues or to showcase the technology and innovation behind everyday devices. Many students built robotic devices or models of local buildings, and then had to confidently answer questions posed by event attendees.
CFC believes that science education is key to our students' futures. Events like this science fair not only incorporate fundamentals learned from a robust science curriculum, but other soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving and communication.
Here's to the future innovators of tomorrow!
Microsoft employees add their colors to Bakong
Following a previous trip in October 2018, another group of Microsoft employees arrived in Siem Reap in late February eager to learn more about CFC and to particpate in a service project. Led by Elly Kim and Susan O'Neill, the group spent a day building bullentin boards for classrooms at Bakong High School.
Can anyone recognize a familiar color pattern in their work?
"We were very privileged to learn more about CFC and to meet some of the team. We really enjoyed working as a team on the bulletin boards. Thank you for all the amazing work that you do and for letting us be a small part of it!"
- Susan O'Neill, Microsoft Director Finance.
Thank you Microsoft!
This is what 12 years of partnership looks like!
During the February Lunar New Year holiday, thirty members of Singapore's Tanglin Trust School international teacher training team participated in their 12th annual workshop. Many Tanglin teachers were accompanied to Siem Reap by their families who also fundraised for community projects at CFC schools. Twelve years is quite a long-lasting partnership, and the commitment and consistent delivery by these dedicated Tanglin teachers has a powerful impact on the professional development of our Cambodian staff.
The three-day training workshop at Aranh's campus started with a warm welcome from CFC leadership team. Building on previous sessions, the focus of this year's multi-day leadership workshop was conflict resolution and difficult conversations. At the primary school level, the interactive sessions were based on the importance of developing critical thinking skills. Working in grade-level groups, teachers from across CFC schools investigated an open-ended mathematical challenge using a range of reasoning techniques and sharing their different methods and levels of understanding. Training continued with exploration of specific grade-level math and science curriculums. As always, workshops concluded with Tanglin trainers observing CFC teachers as they implemented new techiques in their classrooms.
“As always, this experience is truly humbling. We often learn as much from the Cambodian teachers as they do from us, particularly given the very challenging circumstances under which some of them work, without even their basic living needs being met. They are such a resilient and positive group, and they are making a huge difference in the lives of the next generation.”
- Jo Osman, Tanglin Trust School (Deputy Headteacher Infant School)
“My favourite part is the people we get to work with at the schools. I’m amazed by how much we can achieve together even with limited language skills.”
- Zoe Williams, Head of Careers and University Guidance
The impact of ongoing projects like these Tanglin Trust School workshops was beautifully illustrated when veteran trainer Katie Sansom was checking out of her hotel at the end of the group's stay. Recognizing her orange CFC t-shirt, a hotel waiter approached Katie and thanked her for CFC's work. He was a proud graduate of Bakong High School, working at the hotel to raise money to attend university. A true CFC success story in the making!
Training the next generation of teachers
In mid-January, ninety-seven 10th and 11th grade students from Bakong High School and Aranh Sakor High School particpated in multiple day training programs to learn to be assistant teachers at the primary school level. During the 10-week program led by CFC teachers, students worked on creating lesson plans, leading group discussions, engaging slower learners and managing classroom behavior and dynamics. They also gained confidence in group work and communication skills.
Well done everyone! We hope to see you at the head of a classroom in the future!
Another productive health screening trip for the books
The Health Education Team returned to Siem Reap in late February to collaborate with CFC's in-country staff on another round of important vision and growth (BMI) screenings. Volunteers from CFC's valued partner, International Medical Clinic (Singapore), together with long-time volunteer Miranda Thomas worked alongside CFC staff over several busy days to screen 1,085 students at Bakong Primary, Bakong Motwani Junior High and Bakong High Schools.
Eighteen students were referred for vision follow-up and those students needing glasses have been accompanied to the eye clinic. Eleven students were recommended for BMI follow-up and plans are in place to ensure they receive proper medical care.CFC's in-country team also led meetings with students and parents from the entire Bakong community to talk about nutrition.
Results from screenings are entered into our computer health record system to ensure consistent monitoring of student health levels and to offer comparisons for future screenings. The creation and ongoing development of this working database is thanks to Professor Ron Crane and Health Education Committee Chair Barbara Levy. Their expertise and dedication had not only created a valuable tool but has enabled on-going training for our Cambodian staff.
Combined with regular annual visits, referral follow-ups and community presentations, CFC's comprehensive approach to health education is having positive results. Fewer students are presenting with malnutrition and teachers are reporting increased attendance and fewer illnesses. The team effort and excellent camaraderie between our volunteers and in-country staff is exemplary and further complements the success of our health education program. The team returns in June to screen students at all three Aranh schools.