The first of almost 140 new schools being built for Cambodian children was opened
A scheme that combines donations from staff and customers of major Japanese retailer
AEON with a gift of 1 per cent of the firm's pre-tax profits is set to help 78,000
children in the provinces of Kampong Speu, Prey Veng and Kampong Thom get a head
start in life.
AEON is working with the Japan Committee for UNICEF sponsoring the construction of
139 new primary schools.
The three-year project was launched in 2001 to support Cambodia's ambition to achieve
Education for All by 2001.
Im Sethy, the Secretary of State for Education, was to preside over the opening ceremony
at Trapaing Chhouk Primary School in Samrong Tong district.
Scheduled to attend the event were 140 Japanese citizens including children and customers
of AEON chain stores who gave donations to the project.
The inauguration programme was scheduled to include a traditional dance by Cambodian
children, Japanese games for youngsters of both nationalities and sports classes
taught by Japanese athletes.
Each school is provided with its own wells, latrines, blackboards, school furniture
and playground equipment as well as essential learning materials like notebooks,
maps and story books.
The scheme's funds have also been used to improve the quality of education through
in-service training for teachers and school directors as well as for school support
committees. Money has been used to buy school uniforms for economically disadvantaged
UNICEF's Cambodia representative, Rodney Hatfield, said: "Thanks to members
of the Japanese public who provided funding, AEON and the Japan Committee for UNICEF,
thousands of Cambodian children are being given improved educational opportunities.
"This kind of support to the education system needs to be continued and expanded
until every child is reached."