Every child deserves the opportunity to receive quality education. The ability to read and write will lay a foundation for a future without poverty or hunger. Education equips children with fundamental knowledge and skills to better provide for themselves and empowers the community to improve health and prevent diseases like HIV. Project Battambang aims to deliver sustainable, year-round aid through our health education programmes. Our strategic thrusts comprises three aspects – health education, Teachers’ Support Programme and Light A Dream Scholarship.
A holistic outreach is achieved via three platforms:
Pre-screening education – Lessons on healthcare are provided while villagers wait for consultation or treatment. Topics are catered to their specific needs, ranging from simple illnesses like diarrhoea to chronic diseases like hypertension.
School education – Important aspects of health education such as hand washing and teeth brushing techniques are integrated into in- teractive games and songs to en- gage school children.
Community education – In collaboration with Survey Committee, we identified and addressed gaps in villagers’ knowledge of healthcare during Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) sessions with posters as visual aids. This form of mobile education is tailored to suit each villager’s lifestyle and concerns.
Having the Cambodians give back to their society is more important than any external aid we can provide in the long term. As such, we introduced the Light A Dream Scholarship (LADS), sponsoring the education of promising high school and university students who cannot afford a proper education. Currently, LADS sponsors 21 high school and 7 in univer- sity students. The Sisters in MSSHJ, who interact with the students on a daily basis, select and monitor suitable scholars based on aptitude, character and passion for the community. Beyond sponsoring tuition fees, we hope to empower our scholars, encourage character building and a sense of responsibility towards giv- ing back to society. Hence, we conduct biannual LADS camps. In 2014, we focused on identifying and improving individual strengths and weaknesses, love for teammates and fos- tering teamwork. The camp culminated in the A Better Cambodia (ABC) segment – a project for scholars to adopt causes within their own villages and make positive changes from there. The main objective of ABC is to empower LADS scholars and remind them that they have the power to change their own community. Sisters from MSSHJ also serve as mentors for their projects. We are incredibly inspired by our scholars – not only are they determined to make a difference, they are also mature and insightful in pinpointing the root causes of problems within their community. In spite of their youth, they have great visions and passion for Poipet’s future. We hope that the ABC Project will be a stepping stone for bigger changes the scholars will implement for Poipet in the future.
In Poipet, teachers are not well- paid and do not receive their pay punctually. Struggling to support their families, these teachers are compelled to take up side jobs which in turn affect their commitment to the school. In 2011, TSP was implemented in Prey Koup Primary School, in cooperation with the Sisters from Missionary Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSSHJ). It aims to to supplement the income of teachers in a bid to encourage them to devote their full time and effort to teaching the school children. TSP was discontinued in 2014 for a year of observation, and the new batch of teachers continued to show motivation and discipline to provide quality education. Hence, TSP will be re-implemented this year as a crucial mode of income supplementation for the teachers.