V O I C E S
FROM SIEM REAP
 
Update on progress and growth at CFC schools
March 2015
 
First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama
visits Bakong High School
What an incredible honor to have First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama visit Bakong High School! The students who met with Michelle Obama are part of GirlsMatter CFC's gender equity program that many of our team members in Siem Reap and many of our volunteers around the globe have worked hard to develop. CFC believes in our girls and believes that all girls around the world can make a difference.
 
There are thousands of schools in Cambodia and visiting one of our schools is indeed a wonderful show of support from the United States. Once again, the Cambodian Minister of Education's Hang Chang Naron's declaration that "Caring for Cambodia is the model for all schools in Cambodia" is proof that we as an organization are doing something right, something very right.
 
Multi-disciplinary approach from Tanglin teacher trainers
In mid-February, a group of dedicated international teachers from Tanglin Trust School in Singapore headed off on their annual teacher training trip. This year's program had a multi-disciplinary impact with exercises targeted at core subjects as well as new initatives for art and computer skill development. The commitment and consistent delivery by these dedicated teacher volunteers has a powerful impact on the professional development of our Cambodian staff. Knowledge imparted during these training sessions impacts an even wider audience as trained Cambodian teachers pass on their learnings to their peers.
 
The core training workshops offered an enthusiastic audience of junior high school teachers new techniques for problem-solving skills in Maths, English, Humanities and Science (at right). Rob LeGrice worked with CFC staff member Pen Rithy on efforts directed towards the development of an enhanced art curriculum. Creative sessions were offered for budding young artists (below left). In addition, Tanglin teacher Steve Morgan conducted new technology training with select CFC Program Managers (below right), demonstrating how iPads can be used as training and feedback tools by documenting school activities and sharing them within the greater school community. Special thanks to the entire team for the donation of these iPads that will enable our CFC teachers to learn, practice and share new skills.
 
 
 
Tanglin teachers also participated in Food for Thought and distributed hygiene packs to CFC families at a community presentation. Special thanks to Barclays, Credit Suisse and the Tanglin School community for donating the contents of these hygiene packs.
 
“In my fourth year of leading this trip, one of the highlights for me is the personal connections that I have made with the teachers. I look forward to going each year and seeing them again. I relish the opportunity to find out how their lives have progressed on a personal and professional  level.”
                                                           ~ Tanglin School teacher Mhairi Aluthge-Donna
 
Thank you Tanglin Trust School!
 
Generous donation funds CFC music program at Aranh
Tim and Patti Spooner of New Hampshire initiated a personal fundraising campaign for music education at CFC schools. Thanks to this initiative, students at Aranh Sakor High School are benefiting from the introduction of a fully outfitted music room with dedicated resources and formal music instruction. The addition of this program completes the child-friendly curriculum as outlined by the Cambodian Ministry of Education.
 
The Spooners have been dedicated members of CFC's volunteer community for years. In February, Tim, Patti and daughter Emma (at right) returned to Siem Reap eager to share the joy of making music and create a lasting music learning experience at Aranh Sakor. Traditional Khmer music will also be integrated into the overall music curriculum.
 
 
Students are already releasing their creative and musical energies, and there is no doubt that this new music program will continue to flourish. If you are interested in supporting Aranh's music program and helping to sustain the dedicated faculty and resources, please consider making a donation to the Spooners' personal fundraising campaign (click here).
  
 Thank you Spooner Family for bringing music to our ears!
 
Tanglin Trust School High Commissioners Award
For the past three years, students from Tanglin Trust School have been volunteering at CFC schools as part of the High Commissioner Award, 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 February, forty-eight students from Year Six raised over SGD10,000 to support project work and provide funds for resources for Tanglin Trust teacher trainers who will travel to Siem Reap this coming June.
 
Their project work included paving, building recycle bins, laying the foundation for a new water filtration system, and purchasing and painting new school furniture. The highlight of their trip was meeting and interacting with CFC students through Food For Thought and the Village Ramble scavenger hunt.
 
CFC is very appreciative of the support and camaraderie extended by these Tanglin students and the entire Tanglin community.
Thank you!
 
Service trip fosters service and new friendships
For the past nine years, Singapore American School (SAS) has organized an eighth-grade trip to Siem Reap with the objective of promoting service learning. Selected students are typically motivated by their curiosity of the developing world and a desire to make their own contributions toward its improvement. Prior to the trip, students meet to study Cambodia's history, to learn about CFC's mission, and to develop personal relationships with CFC students through our popular pen-pal program.
 
Each day of this February's service trip was packed full with activities and new experiences. The students laid paving stones and spread sand at Kong Much Primary School, built a hand-washing station (see story below) and prepared an area for a new cafeteria at the Aranh campus. The group raised all the funds for their projects and also funded new desks and ceiling tiles at Aranh as well as quality hygiene-promotion posters.
 
A highlight of the journey was when the SAS students met their Cambodian pen-pals and participated in a cooking class (at left). Any awkward shyness or language barriers were quickly overcome as they worked together to transform fresh local ingredients into a delicious meal. Over dinner, the students spontaneously laughed, sang and played games until long after the sun went down.
 
While their labor efforts do not go unnoticed by our CFC community, the real value of these trips comes from the mutual cultural awareness and the relationships made between individuals. These sentiments are echoed below in personal reflections shared by SAS students:
 
"We learned a lot from CFC kids. We learned how they took pleasure in the simple things in life, which is something we thought we should try to do more in our own life. Before our trip was up, we managed to make significant progress on our projects, but our trip was about much more than that. The Cambodians helped us see things differently, and hopefully, they learned something from us too."
             - Riley Britson, SAS 8th grade
 
"These CFC kids just love going to school. I think it's something we can learn from them because not everybody has the privilege to go to school."
              - Kassie Widdow, SAS 8th grade
 
Well said, Singapore American School!
 
Volunteer project updates: Hand-washing stations
Newly constructed hand-washing stations offer a perfect demonstration of CFC's thoughtful and directed needs-based approach to volunteer projects. Our team in Siem Reap and our Volunteer Trips Coordinators spend countless hours ensuring that every service project has a clear objective and meets a specific need. Every dollar donated and every hour volunteered is directly targeted to a tangible program.
 
Recently, two volunteer groups donated time and money towards the construction of various hand-washing stations. In January, a group of mothers and daughters built twelve stations for our preschool campuses, and in February, the Singapore American School eighth graders built a larger scale station at Aranh. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed and the stations have been put to immediate use to promote healthy habits with our preschool students (below left) and our older student communities (below right)
 
From start to finish, a job well done!
 
Collaborative approach to health screenings
Over 800 primary school students received valuable health screenings in early March from a team whose diversity demonstrates the collaborative commitment behind our healthcare initiatives. CFC Health Education volunteers and medical staff from the International Medical Clinic (IMC) in Singapore worked alongside CFC school nursing staff and employees from the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap. Students were screened for vision and nutritional height and weight (BMI - Body Mass Index) assessments, and those who needed follow-up care were referred to local specialists. Pictured above leading an eye examination is volunteer Donnalea Barber who has been an important force behind our WASH initiatives helping to find ways to equip our schools with appropriate sanitation resources.
 
The Cambodian Ministry of Education (MoEYS) recently announced a Fit for School program that promotes hand-washing, teeth brushing and bi-annual de-worming. While CFC has incorporated health and hygiene into our schools' daily curriculum from our early days, this new government program reaffirms and provides continued support for our efforts. We are doing the right things and making progress in needed areas.
Well done team!
 
Narin Jameson visits with students
Cambodian-born cookbook author and ardent CFC supporter Narin Jameson visited with CFC students at Aranh Sakor High School on her annual trip to Siem Reap. She is photographed at far right with students and Program Manager Sivang Suos. This is the second year that Narin has addressed our students.
 
Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's famous quote "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country", the visit prompted a candid conversation about how our students can help their community, their city and their country. She reminded them of the benefits that they receive from attending a CFC school and that they need to stay focused and study to become 'the new patriotic generation'. We are grateful to have Narin as one of our treasured CFC ambassadors and positive role models for our students.
Thank you Narin!
 
Productive and rewarding trip by CFC volunteer committees
Members of the CFC Education Committee and Goods Donations Committee teamed up for a productive three-day service trip in early February. The team created materials and manipulatives for kindergarten and pre-school grade levels. They also helped to organize and decorate newly assigned kindergarten classrooms at the Spien Chreav Amelio Primary School. The teaching resources that the Education Committee regularly create are vital enhancements to lesson planning for CFC teachers who don't have the time, modern conveniences or disposable funds to make them on their own.
 
The volunteers enjoyed a steady stream of CFC students who wandered into the Teacher Training Center during their classroom breaks. Says volunteer Patty Bierley, "I loved the way they came into the room curious to see what we were up to and eager to provide support and supervision. One fellow watched me working to laminate images and had an idea about how to streamline the process. Through hand signals and smiles, he showed me his idea and we got the job done using fewer materials!" 
Next on the teams' project list was a morning spent organizing and inventorying the many donated items housed at our Siem Reap storage facility. Their time and energies offered valuable insights into our existing processes and implementations have already been put in place to improve storage, inventory and dispersement. Their final day started early with Food for Thought at the Aranh campus and then a morning at Bakong High School for some hands-on projects.
 
 Thank you ladies - what you accomplished in just three days is amazing!
 
Special recognition for long-term volunteers
Tracey Carisch and her family are currently on a unique journey around the world with the self-designed theme of "100 Ways to Change the World", and CFC has been fortunate to benefit from their time, skills and generous spirit. Tracey and her children spent several days at the Siem Reap storage facility inventorying our supply of donated uniforms (at left). Tracey then used her technical expertise to create a comprehensive inventory document that will remain a valuable tool for cataloging and distributing uniforms across all of our school campuses. Tracey continues to volunteer her skills and is working on a Siem Reap volunteer welcome brochure.
Thank you Carisch Family!
__________________________________
 
Canadian volunteer Ann Lenchack (at right) spent two weeks at our schools in early February providing helpful insights for several groups of CFC teachers. She worked with ESL teachers at the Amelio, Kong Much and Aranh campuses to improve their lesson plans and offer different strategies for how to better engage students in group work assignments. She assisted the IT teachers with tactics on classroom management, and she observed the Weaker Students Program at Kong Much to offer constructive advice to teachers on classroom management.
Thank you Ann!
 
 
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