SE Asia Community Development Project
Tuol Kruos is part of Oddar Meanchey Province in northwest Cambodia, close to the Thailand border. The local population of just under 700 relies mostly on subsistence farming and plantation work to survive. This school project had 116 student beneficiaries between the ages of 6-14. I became aware of this SE Asia community development project through a Swiss NGO based in Thailand. As a result, I decided to assist.
Private Funding is Required
Unfortunately, Cambodia has still not recovered from the decades of social instability that followed the 4 year reign of the Khmer Rouge. As a result, the thriving tourism sector in certain sections of the country only offers local benefits. Therefore, isolated communities such as Tuol Kruos remain poverty stricken. Additionally, the ruling administration in Cambodia is of little assistance to these rural SE Asia community development projects. Unfortunately, the administration is still mired in self indulgence and corruption leaving most of the country to fend for itself.
The Previous School Building
Previously, they attended school in a 2 classroom shanty with a corrugated metal roof. As a result, during the dry season the dirt floor is very dusty and it turns into mud pits during the rainy season. Therefore, the 116 students that attend school here are prone to sickness due to the conditions at the school.
Due to the severe overcrowding, inadequate facilities and unsanitary conditions, it was most certainly not possible to continue teaching 116 students in this building.
SE Asia Community Development Project Funding
I was happy to step in and provide the 100% of the funds for this project. As a result, construction of the school was started in September 2014 and completed in February 2015.
Community involvement is a crucial element in providing efficient implementation of SE Asia community development projects. Therefore, the community prepared the grounds for the foundation, secured the storage of construction materials and will also build a fence around the school after completion. We provide the concrete school building with 4 classrooms, 2 toilets and also school furniture. The Cambodia government contributes by training the teachers and paying their salaries, providing learning materials and the school curriculum.
The participation of the local community made the project a low risk development. Therefore, the project was completed on schedule.
My Completed School Project
School Opening Ceremony
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the opening ceremony in Tuol Kruos. Although a Child’s Dream Foundation representative attended on both of our behalves.
However, I have attended a couple of my other school opening ceremonies and they are a worthwhile community affair. It is a great opportunity for the donor to appreciate the magnitude of their contribution. Therefore, the teachers, many students, some parents, Child’s Dream Foundation representatives and local politicians are all in attendance. In addition, the donor can take the opportunity to tour the new school building.
Additional Photographs of the Opening Ceremony:
New Packs for School
It is not very easy for the students from the surrounding villages to attend the school opening ceremony. This is mainly due to rural logistics issues that those of us from developed countries take for granted. For example, kids in the US would attend an opening ceremony because their parents have a car and they drive them there. Not so in rural Cambodia!
Therefore, as part of the school funding we include a little extra for these new school packs. The kids cherish them and we give one to each student who attends the school opening ceremony. As you can see this is a very effective!
Tuol Kruos was my 2nd school project in Cambodia. The SE Asia community development projects foster a sense of community development and ownership. As a result, these projects are very beneficial to the entire local community. The local children now have a clean safe place to attend school for many years to come. In addition, I also funded two SE Asia Community Development Projects in Laos of similar magnitude. The new school projects are also very rewarding for the donor because it is a tangible structure which can be physically appreciated after completion.
All photos courtesy of Child’s Dream Foundation