V O I C E S
FROM SIEM REAP
 
Update on progress and growth at CFC schools
October 2014
 
New start date declared for Cambodian school year
In an unprecedented move, the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MoEYS) under the new and visionary leadership of His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron has declared a new start to the nation's school year calendar with a one month delay from October 1st to November 1st.
 
CFC supports this sound decision for several reasons and remains optimistic that this schedule change will become permanent reform. Seasonal rains and flood conditions in October have historically prevented many schools from opening on time and often exposed school communities to risks in attempts to maintain normal school schedules. With the newly announced delayed start, students living in flood-prone areas will no longer risk falling behind in the national curriculum and being at a disadvantage for the remainder of the year. In addition, there are several public holidays that fall in October which have historically required breaks in curriculum delivery. The official Cambodian school year will now run from November through August, and CFC's summer school program will be offered during September.
 
All CFC faculty and administration members have been busy readying our campuses for another transformative year of learning!
 
Introducing our newest staff member
 
On September 1st, CFC welcomed Sivaing Suos (at left) as our Senior Program Manager in Siem Reap with responsibilites for three established programs -- Gender Equity, Career Opportunities and Youth Council. Sivaing's focus will be sustainability and establishing relationships within the communities and local business network for greater scholarship, internship and employment opportunities for our students.
 
Sivaing understands first-hand the challenges of Cambodia’s education system. She grew up in rural Kampong Chhnang Province where she traveled almost two hours by bicycle to school every day. At the age of eighteen, Sivaing moved to the United States where she worked hard and persevered to learn English, raise twins as a single mother, and earn an Associate’s Degree from Middlesex Community College. Sixteen years later, she has returned to Cambodia eager to help her country’s children. With her experience across two cultures and her background in social work, we are positive that Sivaing will make great advances for CFC. 
 
Welcome to the CFC team, Sivaing!
 
Long-term volunteer to focus on technology needs
 
We are pleased to introduce Eric Seguin (at right) who joined our CFC team in August tasked with the direction and implementation of a comprehensive IT program for all of our campuses. Eric's responsibilities include assessing our current technology inventory and establishing clear needs for equipment, programming needs, curriculum design, and teacher training delivery.

Eric’s relationship with CFC began while studying at Lehigh University where he was part of an evaluation team led by Dr. Sothy Eng that researched the information technology and computer science program within CFC schools. After this experience, he was "drawn to the idea of helping CFC implement our recommendations on a local level”, so he took a hiatus from his work to join our staff in Siem Reap.

Beyond this experience at Lehigh, Eric brings with him a broader international development focus from his more than four years teaching English in Cartagena, Colombia where he also helped establish the Colombia Grace Foundation which cares for abused children. CFC welcomes his enthusiasum and talents as we work together to pioneer new efforts in computer science curriculum offerings for Cambodian students.
Welcome Eric!
 
Microsoft brings biology and computer science to life
On October 1st, twenty-five people from the Microsoft Asia Pacific's office in Singapore traveled to Siem Reap for a work service project to construct a biology garden on the grounds of Aranh Sakor High School (above). In addition to building the garden, Microsoft employees were also inspired to raise the necessary funds to ensure that all six campuses have guaranteed internet connection. CFC is incredibly grateful for Microsoft's continued support and for this investment that will enable our students to join the wider world through web connection.
 
 
Pictured at right with Country Director Ung Savy and Deputy Country Director Christin Spoolstra are César Cernuda, President Microsoft Asia Pacific and Michelle Simmons, General Manager South East Asia New Markets.
 
Thank you Microsoft!
 
Food for Thought receives continued support
The strength and longevity of our cornerstone Food for Thought (FFT) program continues to benefit from CFC's partnership with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a non-profit Minnesota-based organization committed to feeding hungry children around the world. In September, CEO Matt Crea (pictured at right), Matt Muraski (Vice President of International Programs) and Rose Crea visited several of our school campuses and met with students and community members. The FMSC team was able to observe first-hand the impact FFT has on our students' health, nutrition and ability to learn.
 
FMSC has guaranteed supply of their "Manna-Pack Rice" to supplement our extensive meal program and fortify the nutritional needs of our students. Together with funds raised from the recent Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger campaign, the reach of our Food for Thought program has been greatly expanded so that no child goes to school hungry.
 
Enthusiastic volunteer group "Makes A Difference"
Every October, the Make A Difference (M.A.D.) trip brings enthusiastic CFC supporters from Singapore to Siem Reap to work on campus improvement projects. The volunteers contribute funds and project resources as well as their time and muscle power to transform our schools. This year was no exception as thirty people, including Singapore Country Director Kay Flanagan, arrived at the Siem Reap airport with energy levels high and luggage carts full of bags transporting needed supplies.
 
Volunteers were split across projects at three primary school campuses - Spien Chreav Amelio, Bakong and Kravaan - and provided needed manpower to help local workers with painting shutters and cafeteria chairs, installing an exterior fence and preparing the foundation for water filtration and hand-washing systems. There were ample opportunities to interact with young CFC students and their families who were present to register for the start of the upcoming academic year. Many young students were even eager to assist with the painting.
 
Participants embraced the local culture while taking part in organized tours of Siem Reap's finest temples and at a group dinner held at Kitchen Angkor Chey where everyone enjoyed authentic Cambodian dishes and performances by CFC Aspara dancers.
 
     
 
Plans are already underway for upcoming M.A.D. trips in Spring 2015 and Summer 2105. If you would like to receive information about these valuable service trips, please contact us at volunteers@caringforcambodia.org.

Thanks to everyone's contributions and hard work our primary school campuses are much better prepared for the upcoming school year!

 
Highlight on Gender Equity Program 
Launched in December 2013 at both the Aranh Sakor and Bakong campuses, the Gender Equity Program (previously known as Female Advisory Program) aims to provide additional support to female students at the middle and high school levels. Under the thoughtful guidance of Chok Sopheak and Hem Kak, each campus maintains a small building where the girls can feel safe to come and seek support and advice, and conducts regular activities for the girls. The ultimate goal is to encourage, enable and empower girls to remain in school through high school graduation.

 
 
In the Fall of 2014, we asked the program leads to create a culturally relevant and insipring theme for their classrooms. At the Aranh Sakor campus, the chosen theme was of light breaking through darkness, symbolizing education breaking through cycles of poverty and despair (at right)


 
At Bakong campus, elaborations on a well-known Cambodian saying - "a leaf doesn't fall far from the tree” - extended the analogy to the potential of that leaf when it is caught by a force like wind, or, in this case, a students' education and perserverance. Painted on the Bakong building's wall is a mural of a tree, and dangling leaves hang from the ceiling on which each student has written a dream of what they dare to achieve and become.  
Simply inspiring!
 
Volunteer returns for second consecutive summer 
 
Canadian Leslie Fradkin (at right) returned to Siem Reap for a second time this past July and spent three weeks working to review our schools' science labs and equipment needs and curriculum guidelines and resources. In addition, Leslie fundraised prior to her visit to secure donations to purchase supplies that would support our students' classroom experiments in the coming year. She spent valuable time with our students and teachers offering hands-on training and making science come alive!
 
Leslie's personal fundraising campaign that she started to support these efforts is ongoing. Donations will continue to be applied towards the purchase of science equipment and lab supplies. If you are interested in making a contribution, please click here.
 
 
Thank you Leslie!
 
 
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900 RR 620 S # C101-304
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