Our new community development in Cambodia was a primary school with 116 student beneficiaries between ages 6-14. Tuol Kruos village is part of Oddar Meanchey Province in Northwest Cambodia, close to the Thailand border. Additionally, the local population of just under 700 relies mostly on subsistence farming and plantation work to survive.
Community Development in Cambodia Needs Private Funding
Unfortunately, Cambodia has still not recovered from the decades of social instability that followed the 4 year reign of the Khmer Rouge. Although tourism is thriving in certain sections of Cambodia, it only offers local benefits. Therefore, isolated rural communities such as Tuol Kruos remain poverty stricken. As a result, rural community development in Cambodia is desperately needed.
Furthermore, the ruling administration of Cambodia can be of little assistance to these impoverished communities in rural Cambodia. After reviewing the school prospectus and photos I realized this was a perfect opportunity. Therefore, I was happy to assist with funding for the project. As a result, construction began in September 2014 and the new project was completed 6 months later.
Dilapidated State of the Previous School
Previously, the students attended class in a 2 room shanty with a rusty corrugated metal roof and dirt floor. During the dry season the dirt floor is very dusty and the floor turns into mud pits during the rainy season. This creates a health hazard and the children are often sick as a result.
Furthermore, the classrooms had very little natural light and learning in this environment would seem nearly impossible. Indeed, the conditions of the previous school building were extremely poor.
It was obvious that the severe overcrowding, inadequate facilities and unsanitary conditions would make it impossible to continue teaching 116 students in this building.
Implementation of the Tuol Kruos School Project
Community involvement is a crucial element in efficiently implementing rural community development in Cambodia. Therefore, it would be a joint effort with me providing the funds. However, the Tuol Kruos community and also the Cambodian government would play a significant role. The implementation of these measures assured me that the project was a low risk.
1) 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.
2) We provide the concrete school building with 4 classrooms, 2 toilets and also school furniture.
3) The Cambodia government contributes by training the teachers and paying their salaries, providing learning materials and the school curriculum.
Completed Tuol Kruos School Building
Community Development in Cambodia Opening Ceremony
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the opening ceremony of the completed community development project in Cambodia. However, a representative from the Swiss NGO appeared and accepted the award on my behalf.
The opening ceremony is a great opportunity for the donor to appreciate the magnitude of their contribution. The teachers, many students, some parents and local politicians are all in attendance. Additionally, the donor can take the opportunity to tour the new school building.
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. 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 not my first school project in Cambodia. Indeed, successful projects are very beneficial to the local community and surrounding area. As a result, the local children finally have a clean safe place to attend school for many years to come.
Additional Photo of the Opening Ceremony