In February, international teacher trainers from Tanglin Trust School in Singapore facilitated a three-day workshop covering a range of topics. Veteran trainers Katie Sansom, Caroline Rushworth and Mhairi Aluthge-Donna and the Tanglin training team led the sessions with CFC Mentor Teachers and other teachers. Primary school training focused on mathematics with a new carousel style approach to sharing good practices, and Mentor Teachers studied how to identify areas for improvement in math curriculum across primary grade levels. Principals, senior staff, and the Department Heads from each of the four CFC-sponsored secondary schools studied leadership and management strategies, focusing on effective observation and follow up to improve the quality of teaching and learning at all schools.
February's trip marked an impressive TEN YEARS of partnership between CFC and Tanglin Trust School. The commitment and consistent delivery by these dedicated Tanglin teacher trainers has had a powerful impact on the professional development of our Cambodian staff. Knowledge imparted during these sessions impacts a wide audience as trained Mentor Teachers pass on their learnings to their CFC peers, and even more, as a growing number of teachers from other government-run schools attend CFC-run sessions. This is yet another example of how CFC is leading the way for the advancement of child-friendly education through Cambodia!
Thank you Tanglin for TEN terrific years of teacher training!
CFC Mentor Teachers share expertise as a mutual support for education links CFC and Ridgewood, NJ
Karen Feder and fellow Ridgewood, New Jersey community members have had a personal connection to Cambodia since 2009 when they banded together to help build a middle school in Kandal Province through World Assistance for Cambodia (WAfC) and its Rural Schools Program. WAfC is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving opportunities for the youth and rural poor in Cambodia in the areas of education, health, rural development, and technology.
Their connection to CFC began three years ago when, impressed with CFC's programs and progress in child-friendly education, they included site visits to CFC campuses as part of their annual trips to visit their own school, the Ridgewood Village School. As a gesture of thanks to CFC, the Ridgewood volunteer group (an impressive thirty-five people!) spent a day painting computer desks and stools at Bakong High School.
CFC Mentor Teachers share best practices with confidence and expertise!
Collaboration has continued with Ridgewood teachers attending CFC sponsored teacher training workshops, and just recently, with CFC Mentor Teachers visiting Ridgewood Village to offer additional in-classroom assistance and one-on-one support. This visit marked the first time that CFC Mentor Teachers have traveled outside Siem Reap to share their best practices. Over the years, CFC Mentor Teachers have developed the expertise and confidence to serve as experts in their field, sharing their knowledge and experiences regularly in Siem Reap and at education conferences. This is not only a remarkable accomplishment, but an effective means of extending CFC's government recognized model for child-friendly curriculum across the country.
One of the main goals was to help Ridgewood teachers redesign their classroom environment; creating a space that was more visually engaging while providing meaningful, child centered activities in every corner. Before and after photos say it all!
"It was our very first time to travel to another school. All grade teachers helped our team make the materials and hang everything on the walls. We all tried to make good communication with each other. After we worked together, they had learned how to make their classrooms more child-friendly. At the end of our time, we made plans for CFC Mentor Teachers to make more time to support them, especially to help them on technique teaching in math and Khmer."
~ CFC Mentor Teacher
Well done Mentor Teachers - we are proud of you!
CFC Chapter members travel with a purpose
In late January, eleven women traveled to Siem Reap to lend a hand on a service trip organized by CFC Chapter Leaders Edna Cooper (California) and Carolyn Viens (Midwest). The hard-working group assisted as native speakers in ESL classes at three different CFC primary schools. In addition to ESL, the women helped paint some of the school structures, participated in an early morning Food For Thought, and enjoyed personal exchanges with several of the students during a Village Ramble scavenger hunt.
“When you read about CFC’s accomplishments, it is very impressive. But to actually see and be involved in CFC’s work first hand in Cambodia is a treasured and inspiring experience.” ~ Edna Cooper, California Chapter Leader
"I will never forget the kids. Their smiling happy faces so appreciative of us being there, and being overwhelmed by dozens of their hugs and ‘high fives''; the kids made the trip for me." ~ Valerie Corvin
A love of travel and service brought these women together, and their shared experience in Cambodia has now strengthened those friendships. All would agree that 'traveling with purpose' brings great rewards for all.
Thank you ladies - you've made a difference for our students!
Regular vision and BMI screenings are proactive tools for health intervention
The Health Education Team returned to Siem Reap in January to collaborate with CFC's in-country staff on another round of important vision and BMI screenings. Committee Chair Barbara Levy was joined by volunteers from CFC's valued partner, International Medical Clinic, and volunteer Miranda Johnson. Student eyesights were tested, and height and weight measurements were recorded and compared with previous data, an important process that helps monitor student nutrition levels.
An impressive 1,129 students were screened at Aranh Primary, Kong Much Primary and Kravann Primary Schools. Sixty-five students were identified as having BMI (growth) concerns, and fifteen additional students were referred for vision care follow-up. These steps towards ensuring proper follow-up and care are indicative of the value of our health screenings.
Photographed below are several students being screened for vision and BMI, as well as a young student who received her first pair of glasses from Angkor Hospital for Children. She's now ready to learn!
Over two hundred family members and fifty students attended a community gathering at Bakong Motwani Junior High School where CFC health team members Sok Phy and Loan Ratha engaged the audience with a presentation that focused on hygiene practices and how to prevent infection of the Zika virus. Donations of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes were distributed to all attendees.
Thank you Health Education Team!
Eighth-graders lay groundwork for lasting
service and friendships
Another enthusiastic group of eighth-graders from Singapore American School (SAS) took part in the school's eleventh service trip in early March. Teacher Jim Ryan and several parents accompanied the group. In addition to reinforcing what SAS students have learned about Cambodia's culture and history, the annual trip helps cultivate relationships between SAS students and their CFC penpals, giving each an opportunity to learn about the other's life.
SAS students raised money to fund a paving project at the Aranh campus which required many hours of physical labor in the Cambodian heat, and precision in the laying the stones. The paved walkway replaces dirt paths and will help to prevent flooding during the rainy season. Students also supported ESL lessons in the primary school classrooms.
Penpals enjoyed trying their hands at Cambodian cooking and exploring the historic Ta Prohm temple grounds. The time these students shared together left lasting impressions on everyone.
"Throughout the trip, I kept asking myself what service meant to me. It means recognizing someone else's needs and putting them before your own. Helping others is something I'm really passionate about; all the privileges that I have in my life, give me the opportunity to make a difference in the world." ~ Elle Epstein
"Before this trip, Cambodia felt distant, a country whose situation had nothing to do with me. But through this trip, I was able to see the actual human story hiding behind all of it. Kids in Cambodia really aren't any different from us - how they high-fived us every time we passed by, how they jokingly hit each other during class, and how they listened to the same music as I did." ~ Kohei Sanno
Tanglin High Commissioner Award students return
Students from Tanglin Trust School (Singapore) have been volunteering at CFC schools for the past five years as part of the High Commissioner Award (HCA), an extra-curricular program supported by their school and the British High Commissioner in Singapore. The program has Tanglin students complete a range of activities that encompass skills, community service, enterprise and a volunteer trip.
In early March, teacher Victoria Scott accompanied the Tanglin HCA students to Siem Reap where they worked for several days on a variety of challenging projects - laying paving stones (assembly-line style!), painting tables and stools, and building a new wall and fence.
The group shared in the morning routine with CFC students during Food for Thought and bonded with Aranh Sakor High School students on a Village Ramble scavenger hunt and a hard fought football match (won by CFC students!). They were also able to explore the historic cultural sights of Siem Reap, learning about the vast history of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon temples, and even seeing the sunset over Angkor Wat.
"We really enjoyed taking part in Food for Thought. We realised that, even though we don’t speak Khmer, we could still communicate with the CFC children with our smiles!" ~ Kiri and Cara
"When we were laying pathways and building walls, we learned how to collaborate with each other and the CFC students who wanted to help us. It was great fun! We can even take our new found skills home with us - maybe even build a wall with my Grandad!" ~ Jonathan and Josh
Thank you for sharing and caring Tanglin students!
About Us - Caring for Cambodia (CFC) is a non-profit, non-governmental, charitable organization that provides a free education for over 6,600 impoverished children in 21 schools spanning pre-school to high school. CFC professionally trains its teachers, and provides everything a child needs to succeed, including food, clean water, uniforms, school supplies, computers, transportation and basic healthcare. CFC relies heavily on global volunteer support which ensures that the majority of dollars raised directly support the education of a child.