The education system in Cambodia faces many barriers such as lack of funding, poverty, corruption and also the lack of understanding the value of education.
During the Khmer Rouge regime in the mid to late 1970's education in Cambodia suffered a severe setback. During this horrific time in recent history all schools were closed, and all educated people were to subject to unspeakable torture and even execution.
Now there are many non-government organizations and volunteer missions to help rebuild the system in Cambodia.
Someone I know has built a pre-school in Tek Yong Village in rural Cambodia. Entirely a sole operation and privately funded by herself she has built a small classroom and also provides the local children with all school supplies in terms of receiving a scholarship.
Her goal is to show the local children and their parents the value of education and how it can provide in the future by offering wider opportunities as the kids grow up.
Students hold hands in a class room activity.
A child stands in the corner of the classroom. Educational posters in Khmer are stuck on the walls around the room.
One of the tasks in hand was to measure each student's clothe size in order to purchase new uniforms for the next term.
Shopping for supplies in the Kampong Cham street markets.
The children and students of the village do not have many toys. Most of them are kept in the classroom and shared by the local kids.
The school has no running water, electricity or plumbing. A communal water pump is used.
Each student had their portrait taken as part of their enrollment.
A student reading a book in Khmer.
Each child has their turn to come forth individually to plead why they deserve a scholarship.
As part of their scholarship pack each student receives funding for a full school year, new uniform, school bag, stationery, and a bicycle to get to and from school.
Curious students peep into the classroom to see what is going on.
(left) Educational posters in Khemer. (right) New exercise book supplies for the new school term.
It's a rare opportunity for these kids to see a camera. Here are some of the locals posing.
English is part of the school curriculum. A large part of Cambodia's economy depends on tourism, so the ability to speak some English is a valued skill in the workforce.
A game of tug-o-war.
The local kids have a dance-off to some music.
Suitcases full of donated clothing, supplies, and toys were gifted to the students before we left. The handful of kids were let into the room at a time to choose from the donations.