We are thrilled to announce that the new school in Cambodia, financed and sponsored by Walhampton, has been built and opened. One hundred and thirty children are now attending lessons, for the first time, in Khe Nang a rural village in the north east of Cambodia, near the border with Laos. We hope that in the coming months close to 300 children will be attending this new school.
Khe Nang is home to Khmer and Laos speaking families, as well as a hilltribe community who speak their own indigenous language. Only 1% of the village can read or write and only 15% speak the national language Khmer. Khe Nang can be seen on Google Earth here .
The new school has been achieved through a close working relationship between Walhampton and the charity United World Schools. UWS’s vision is to provide a free education to out-of-school children living in rural, post-conflict communities. UWS works only where it is wanted by the local community and where there is no alternative schooling.
For the children in Khe Nang, learning to read, write and count in the national language (Khmer) opens up many new opportunities. It helps these children break cycles of poverty. A school education will make a significant impact on issues around malnutrition and child marriage, as well as premature deaths in children and mothers.
Walhampton raised the full amount (£25K) to build the school. We have also committed to raising £7K, annually, to cover all the running costs of the school. This includes: training 3 locals as community teachers (the local government has allocated 3 additional government teachers), the salaries for these community teachers, new books for the library, stationery and a school bag for every child, all the textbooks and the on-going maintenance of the school buildings, and the newly built well and toilets.
Before the school was built the newly appointed Education Officer (called Leakhana) visited every house in the village to discuss the value of education and the role of the new school. Leakhana will visit Khe Nang fortnightly to check on how the staff and pupils are doing and provide additional educational resources and staff training.
The plan is to roll out a meaningful programme of talks, displays, and lessons which help our own children – staff and parents - ‘connect’ with, and learn from, this growing relationship between Walhampton and the community of Khe Nang. There will be a series of fundraising projects, led by the children. We intend to establish a strong relationship with Khe Nang which is long lasting, over many years. It is vitally important that this new relationship works both ways.
Building and sponsoring a school in Khe Nang will help transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children. But the benefits to our children, at Walhampton, can be significant too. This project will broaden their horizons and understanding of different cultures, as well as the power of giving and importance of education.
To find out more about this project, please see the below film: