Prey Chas, Cambodia School Project
Prey Chas, Cambodia desperately need a new secondary school. After reviewing the prospectus I decided that I would make Prey Chas one of my Cambodia community development projects.
I had recently traveled by boat from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Battambang and I remember passing through Prey Chas. I could recall what it was like to travel through this area and it made Cambodia and Tonle Sap feel less foreign. However, the extreme poverty I encountered was the decisive factor which made me decide to contribute to Cambodia and SE Asia.
Structural Challenges of Tonle Sap
Prey Chas, Cambodia is a rural fishing village located in Battambang Province at the far NW end of Tonle Sap. Therefore, Tonle Sap is a major factor to consider when constructing the school. As a result, the school building must be elevated to withstand the flood season. Additionally, school attendance and construction would be challenging due to transportation issues.
Prey Chas, Cambodia
Transportation Problems on Tonle Sap
Many students are unable to attend school due to transportation issues on Tonle Sap. Most essentially, water based transport is required during the rainy season. However, fuel is expensive and the local community is very poor with most residents dependent on subsistence farming and fishing.
Furthermore, many students who must travel greater distances are unable to attend due to lack of transport. Prey Chas is the main village and it is the main transportation hub in this area. Therefore, the location was ideal for a new school building because it would be a very significant motivational factor to encourage attendance.
Better Facilities for Students and Teachers
Previously, the teacher’s boarding house served as their school prior to completion of this new Cambodia community development project. Therefore, the teachers rooms were classrooms during the day and bedrooms at night. The teacher’s personal belongings must be moved during the day and again at night.
Due to limited space many students could not attend. As a result, school attendance was very low with only 40-50 students attending class daily. In addition, the drop out rate was high. Ideally, completion of the Cambodia community development project would reverse these trends.
Private Funding and Community Participation
I agreed to provide 100% funding for the project. However, the government and also the local community would contribute. The government would provide training for the teachers and pay their salaries. Additionally, the government would provide the school curriculum plus school materials for teaching and learning.
The local community would prepare the grounds for construction and support the delivery of the construction materials. Most essentially, the local community agreed to provide an additional boat to transport students to school throughout the school year.
Completion of the School Project
The construction of the Prey Chas, Cambodia school project began in November 2013 and was completed in the summer of 2014.
School Opening Ceremony
In November 2014, we all gathered in Prey Chas for the celebration. Most essentially, it was a community affair. The school opening ceremony would be attended by the provincial governor, teachers, students, Buddhist monks and the school administrators.
At the ceremony I was presented with the Cambodia Development Medal of Honor and a certificate by the Governor of Battambang Province.
School Construction Photos