Besides the successful residential children's care center in Phnom Penh, SCCO decided to expand its activities. Since 2014, SCCO increases its impact by supporting children living with their (extended) families in Andong. SCCO supports the vision that children (if possible) grow up in their own family circle and this strategy of support is aligned with the government policies, in which community and family support take an increasingly important role.
With the educational program in Andong, SCCO wants to provide the children and their families with a better future. The primary goal of the project is an increase of structured quality education for all children in Andong. This goal breaks down into three sub-goals:
In order to achieve these goals, not only the direct support of children is important, but also their parents play an important role. Through education and family-support programs parents are involved in the program. We teach them to recognize the value of education and provide support in order for the parents to be able send their children to school.
The current situation
Andong has a local school with a student population of approximately 700 students However, regular attendance is a challenge as it is contingent on families being able to pay the teacher a small amount of money each day. This is an obviously flawed system and attendance is irregular, with children often forced to work from a very young age, generally scavenging for recyclable material on rubbish dumps. Based on the information from village chiefs and the school director only 20% of the children in Andong regularly attends school.
Our Strategies & Activities
Own classrooms and education
SCCO runs three classrooms in Andong where children receive free education. In our pre-primary (for 4/5 year olds) we are preparing 50 children for primary school. During this time we work closely with the parents and upon graduation from our pre-primary classes we ensure that the children are enrolled at the local elementary school. This is not where our supports ends. Instead, we ensure follow-up throughout their school careers and check regular attendance in partnership with the local primary school. If necessary, we also provide additional support in the form of school uniforms and learning materials. In the afternoons, our students can attend our intensive classes where one of our teachers is available to assist them with their homework. In addition, our classrooms are used for weekend programs; we provide English lessons and the children can learn by playing with the many games and puzzles that are available. Through these programs, SCCO offers free education to about 100 children from 4-7yrs old. It's a great success! Both parents and children are enthusiastic.
Besides education, the children enrolled in our pre-primary classes also fruit. This form of additional support has already proven successful in several schools. It causes an increase in the number of children attending school and improves the overall health of the children. Also the concentration and consequently results of the children during the classes is improved.
A very important way of learning is reading books! Our goal is therefore to make books accessible to parents and children. SCCO runs a "mini-library" in Andong, where children can come to relax and read on Sunday afternoons and to borrow books to continue reading at home. Additionally SCCO facilitates the library at the local elementary school Kork Rokar.
The local primary school does not have enough space to accommodate for all children from Andong. SCCO will therefore contribute to the construction of additional classrooms, which can also be used for extra-curricular activities and English lessons that will be coordinated by SCCO. Construction is scheduled for 2017.