Our third school, Phon Bourn Svay Klaing School in Kampong Cham, Cambodia, opened its new doors on Nov. 3, 2014! The new, five-classroom building is where 150 kindergarten-sixth grade students learn. This new building is a welcome addition to the village. The school’s previous building posed potential danger to the students, faculty and community and it was in desperate need for replacement.
According to Svay Klaing villagers, the original school was built in 1979 immediately following the defeat of the Khmer Rouge regime. School building materials were the remnants of abandoned buildings in the village. The local temple donated land for the school inside the temple compound, but were unable to support the costs of maintaining the building or operating the school. The building was beyond repair. Parents worried that the school’s roof or the walls would collapse, especially during days with heavy rain or wind storms. The school principal reported students were frequently released early in response to potential risks posed by weather conditions and the poor physical structure of the school.
Svay Klaing School Project Lead, Mr. Sokhom Tauch is a Cambodian refugee who had the opportunity to resettle in the U.S. He returns regularly to his home country and community to give back. One of his projects was raising the funds necessary to rebuild the temple that shares its property with the school. Each time he would visit his community, he witnessed the deterioration of the Svay Klaing School, hoping that the government would help. Seeing the children benefitting from the classes taught at the school, and the families who placed education on the top of their priority list gave him the inspiration to rebuild this school. In November 2011, Sokhom and his wife had the chance to see the opening of GLEF’s first school building at Âng School in Battambang, Cambodia. It was an amazing day for them, seeing the newly built school building standing elegantly and ready to serve happy and excited children and their parents. Shortly after, Sokhom submitted a project proposal on behalf of Svay Klaing School to GLEF; it was approved in 2012. In 2013 GLEF raised the funds to build Svay Klaing School a new five-room building. Groundbreaking for the new school was Jan. 15, 2014. With the help of Sophalla Orn, GLEF Project Manager in Cambodia, GLEF received regular construction updates and photos. The original building was torn down and students carried on their studies at the temple next door. The children were able to witness and at times help (see photo) during the construction process! Upon the completion of this project, Mr. Meng Leng the Chief of School Support Committee/ Construction shared, “The school is very beautiful and strong. We are really satisfied and love it. I commit to look after this new school, a valued gift from GLEF.”
GLEF thanks all our supporters for providing opportunities to each and every child who attends our schools in Cambodia! For updates throughout the year, please visit GLEF on Facebook!