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Aide et Action students having fun while learning. Photo supplied

Building schools for the less fortunate

Cambodia’s Ministry of Education has held many projects to ensure that Cambodian citizens receive at least the most basic education – primary school education.

French non-government organisation Aide et Action (AEA) has risen up to this issue, stating that during the school year of 2015 to 2016, it had facilitated and provided more than 20,000 Cambodian children with education scholarships, enabling them to go further in their studies.

Vorn Samphors, AEA’s country program director told Post Plus earlier this week that recently, in Kampong Thom province alone, about 3,000 poor and disabled children had received education scholarships from AEA.

“This scholarship is worth around US$60 to US$120 per year for each student,” he said, explaining that every student receives stationeries, books, bags and clothes to assist with their schooling. Some poor children even receive rice. Through their all-encompassing approach, disabled children are provided with their own wheelchairs as well as other essential equipment.

According to Samphors, these students who receive AEA scholarship come from all 25 provinces in the Kingdom, and comprise “poor, disabled children, children who have never been to school, children who had been to school but quit, or children who are always absent in class because of their unstable livelihood.”

The focus of AEA’s scholarships is on primary school education for these children to ensure that they are at least literate. “Among all 20,971 scholarship students, 47 per cent are girls,” he added.

During the time AEA has been present in Cambodia, they have been working closely with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, local authorities, and partnered with other local NGOs.

Sek Borisoth, senior officer of AEA said via email: “One major highlight of AEA Cambodia is the Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children (CCOSC) that has been implemented jointly by a group of 22 national and international partner organisations all across the country to get at least 57,000 children within three years either to or back to school, and retain until they finish at least primary education. As of present, the project is halfway through and approximately 40,000 out-of-school children have been supported by the project.”

Borisoth also added that aside from giving out scholarship, AEA also holds workshops to further educate or provide major training to more than 2,000 teachers.

In maintaining and building up collaborations with local authorities, 18 schools and centres have been erected in provinces to provide the opportunity to children who could not attend school because schools were previously not in proximity to their communities.

“Now, there are at least 220 classrooms for these students,” he said.

Aide et Action has its base in Europe, and was founded in 1981 by French donors. It has been active in Cambodia since 2001.

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