For most of us, the transition from school to summer schedules has already begun. However, for Cambodian teachers, there are still more than four months of lesson preparation and teaching ahead. We are pleased to share some personal reflections from members of our core teaching staff on why they chose to work for CFC, and why they stay. These educators are helping us achieve our goal of improving the lives of Cambodian youth through access to quality education every single day.
With thanks and appreciation to our entire management and faculty team!
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program Manager Chan Vandy
"I’ve been working with CFC since 2006. When I first arrived at Spien Chreav Amelio School, the classroom was one I had always imagined: enough resources and games for the children. From that moment, I wanted to work with CFC because I believed it could help the schools, teachers and children. CFC has also helped me improve, by allowing me to study at university, to study English, and by giving me the experience of traveling to Singapore for training. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do any of this. CFC even built a house for my family, and helped take care of me when I was sick. All of this has really helped improve my family's situation. Thank you CFC!"
Gender Equity Program Manager Chhum Ratha
"I remember when I saw the job announcement for CFC gender equity educator. The title of the job amazed me. I've seen gender inequity everywhere - individuals, family, community, and even in my country. Later, when I was promoted to Gender Equity Program Manager, I liked everything about the program, especially working with the students.
I remember driving to work on my first day to Bakong Motwani on a dusty road. It was my first time working far from home. I questioned why I was doing this job, but I knew why - the students. Students who always smile, who have hope and are thirsty for knowledge. Students never let me down when I face challenges in work."
ESL Manager Kol Sinat
"I have been working for since 2009 when I started as an English teacher at Kong Much Primary School. CFC is a good organization that is helping to provide a better future for the children of Cambodia through education. I am very thankful to CFC for the scholarship to continue my studies at university to expand my knowledge and improve my skills to be a better team leader."
Mentor Teacher/Primary Coordinator Soung Sopheary
After more than 14 years of working as a primary school teacher in different communities, I joined CFC in 2010 at Aranh Primary School. I become a Grade 5/6 Mentor Teacher and now Primary Coordinator. CFC has given me much responsibility, and has also helped me achieve my dream of earning a university degree. CFC not only cares about education for children, but for its staff too. CFC changed my life by providing me a good job. Thank you to everyone around the world who spend your love, your time and work hard to raise funds to support our children in Cambodia. Without you, there is no CFC, and I would not be me!"
School Health Program Manager Oun Nemoll
"I started to work for CFC in September 2015. At first I was very nervous since this was a big change from my previous job, but I feel so lucky that I found my dream job working with people and helping them. My family was so proud of my new job, and so happy that I could do what I like and meet such good people to work with every day. My father-in-law works for the government as an Education Officer, so he was very excited that I now work for CFC. I believe strongly that CFC will change our childrens' lives each year with education, so everyday I feel so warm and helpful to work with CFC. I wish all CFC donors and team members good health for leading such good work to help Cambodia."
Fond farewell to a valued contributor of
CFC's comprehensive ICT program
In May, CFC bid farewell to Curriculum Specialist Elaine Park who returns to California following two years in Siem Reap. Together with ICT Program Manager Voeun Vantha, Elaine was instrumental in developing a sustainable ICT (Information Communication and Technology) program in line with the Ministry of Education's strategic vision of developing 21st-century skills. She worked closely with Vantha to create the program's vision, and then shared that vision with management and faculty. They also worked to enhance computer facilities and faculty at all four secondary school campuses.
Curriculum Specialist Elaine Park (second from left) is photographed with other CFC ICT faculty members.
CFC's comprehensive ICT program gives students dexterity in important 21st-century skills such as accessing information, communicating effectively, collaborating, critical thinking, and problem solving. With the support of the ICT Team, CFC teachers are beginning to integrate technology into their classrooms, using projectors and adapting curriculum for increasingly 'smart' classrooms.
Learning is student-centered, active and meaningful, and there are tangible positive results. CFC students consistently perform better than the national average on exams and graduate with skills necessary for competitive post-secondary pursuits.
Not only did Elaine develop the ICT curriculum, she also worked hard to ensure that CFC teachers were capable of implementing and, as needed, adjusting the curriculum in her absence. This is a great example CFC's belief in imparting sustainable skills and empowering Cambodian educators: giving a hand up, not a hand out. Vantha and his team of ICT teachers are ready to lead the way.
Reflecting on her extensive time in Siem Reap, Elaine admits that she "came to CFC looking to work in a positive environment, but I got so much more! This was probably the first time that I have experienced true teamwork. We all shared similar emotions that come with change - excitement and disappointment, highs and lows - and believe me, there was a lot of change!"
Thank you Elaine for your positive contributions
over two incredible years - you will be missed!
CFC to send robotics team to Washington, DC
A team of high school students and their faculty mentor, Kim Vanthen, has been invited to compete as Team Cambodia in the FIRST(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Global Challenge to be held July 16-18 in Washington. FIRST Global organizes an Olympics style robotics event that drives home the importance of igniting a passion for STEM among the more than two billion youth in the world. There are 120 national teams participating in the challenge, and Team Cambodia is one of the few with youth from underserved backgrounds.
The focus for the inaugural FIRST Global robotics game, H20 Flow!, tackles one of the world's universal challenges - access to clean water - and prompts teams to learn about real-world water scarcity and contamination issues.
CFC students have been incredibly busy finalizing assembly and programming exercises. If you want a glimpse of CFC's robot in action, and a glimpse of CFC team camaraderie, click here to watch a short video clip.
For our CFC team, this opportunity represents more than a robotics competition. We are incredibly proud of the students' initiative and courage, and excited for their team adventure as they travel away from Cambodia, for the very first time. We can only imagine all that they will take in and learn - stay tuned!
Congratulations, good luck and safe travels to TEAM CAMBODIA!
If you will be in Washington from July 16-18th, please come and cheer on our team. All events will take place at DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D Street NW). Admission is free. For more information, please click here.
Arts program gains support from Spooner Family
The Spooner Family of New Hampshire - Tim, Patti and their daughters, Abby and Emma - have been dedicated supporters of CFC since their time in Singapore beginning in 2007. They were instrumental in the creation of a music program at Aranh Sakor High School with dedicated resources and formal music instruction.
In May, Patti and daughter Abby (at right) returned to Siem Reap to oversee three art workshops at Aranh High School, Spien Chreav Amelio Primary School and the Bridges Art Gallery in Siem Reap. CFC students were taught the technique of ink drawing - sketching their drawings first in pencil and then using a sharpened chop stick dipped in black ink to outline their drawings. As seen in the examples below, the students created beautiful artwork.
In addition to teaching a new technique, Patti and Abby plan to incorporate the students' work into a collection that can be bound and sold as a coloring book. Proceeds would be channeled towards the development of a more robust arts program. If the success of CFC's music program is any indication, there is plenty of creativity to channel this way.
Thank you to the Spooner Family for your continued support
and enrichment of the arts at CFC schools!
Comprehensive health screenings address
vision, BMI and dental needs
The month of May was especially busy for the Health Education Committee with two separate screening visits organized and led by Health Education Chair Barbara Levy in collaboration with valued international partners and our in-country staff.
Vision and BMI (Body Mass Index) ~
A team of volunteers and employees of International Medical Clinic in Singapore, including pediatrician Dr. Marina Barzilay, conducted vision screenings and recorded health and weight measurements for nutritional analysis. A total of 975 students from all three Bakong schools were evaluated, resulting in 17 referrals for vision follow-up and 52 referrals for BMI concerns.
A time-consuming task, accurate and immediate data entry is essential to tracking and proper follow-up. At left, CFC Nurse Oun Nemoll and Barbara Levy tackle the day's records. Students who had previously received eyeglasses were evaluated to check if prescriptions and care were adequately addressing needs. Dr. Barzilay's participation was invaluable for her expert knowledge and ability to consult with CFC nursing staff on more critical cases. Marina shares her impressions below:
"Going into it, we all knew the specifics of our project. But it was only once we arrived and worked shoulder to shoulder with CFC staff that we truly understood what it means to be part of this community, a community where everyone is both a student and a teacher.
I saw the sparkle in each person's eyes, full of hope, a thirst for knowledge and a strong will to progress and help others join them. We were only there for a few days, but these people are there making it happen 365 days of the year! I still carry with me those few days and can't stop talking about this experience! I definitely gained more than I gave!"
Dental Hygiene ~Returning for their second visit, a team of three volunteer dentists and fifteen dental assistants from Bliss & Wisdom, an international Buddhist organization, conducted dental screenings for 538 students attending Aranh Primary School. Taking an even more preventative approach this time, the team was able to apply sealants to forty-six students.
As with their previous visit in May 2016, the team surveyed students to assess dental hygiene practices, and found better than expected results with improved oral hygiene and almost half of the students reporting that they had seen a dentist. School Health Program Manager Oun Nemoll and his team followed up immediately with families of students needed urgent referrals.
CFC extends our thanks to supporter Eddie Chee for his continued help in cultivating our valued relationship with Bliss & Wisdom. We look forward to future visits when even more students can receive check-ups and sealants. Thank you Bliss & Wisdom!
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.