60 New Students Join ISF

New ISF Catch Up students

At the start of the new school year each November, brand new students join ISF’s Catch-Up programme. These students are all from the poorest areas of Phnom Penh, and many have never been to school before. Every year, many more families want to join ISF’s programme than we can accommodate. This is why we do a careful selection to make sure the places go to those in most need.

From July 2015, we began making announcements that ISF were taking applications for new students in the poorest areas of 7 villages around Chbar Ampov and 5 villages around Stung Meanchey. To make sure our new students can get to school regularly and safely, we take applications only from villages within a 3.5k radios of our ISF Centres. We also work with local authorities to help reach potential students, by giving them information they can share with the people in their village. At every enrollment time, we always receive great support from the local authorities. Mr. Seng, one of the village leaders in our target areas said: “Since ISF has started their programme in this community, I have seen a lot of disadvantaged children in my community, that no longer spend their time to go with their parents for scavenging or doing other works for earning money. They spend their time to go to study instead. So ISF provides a big improvement for these children.”

This year we received 215 applications at ISF Chbar Ampov and 157 applications at ISF Stung Meanchey (60 of whom were applicants from families who already have a child enrolled at ISF). We interviewed all the families and visited their homes to make a full assessment based on our selection criteria. We found that most of the families are living in extreme poverty and have children who are uneducated. Sophea, one of our social workers said: “Every year at enrollment time, I and my team always meet a lot of the poorest families and their children. After our assessment, we find that most of their living situations and the conditions of children are quite similar to each other. All of them really need our programme to support them. So we always feel really hard to make decision.”

On Monday 26 October, our committee had a very important meeting to allocate the available 60 places to those most in need of our services, 30 students are selected for each Centre. This new intake will bring our total number of students supported to 559. All of the successful families were very excited with the result and very grateful to ISF and our supporters for this huge opportunity provided to their children. Sreya, one of the children who was selected said “I am very happy to have the opportunity to study at ISF. When my parents told me that I was selected, I cried and was very happy too because I have never been school before. I ran to tell all my friends that I