ISF Opens Second School

ISF opened its second Education Centre in September. Located in the Chbar Ampov district, it will use the programme so successfully developed by ISF at our Stung Meanchay Centre. Initially the Chbar Ampov Centre will serve 50 children from the local community but this will grow to 250 by 2016.

 

 

Chairman Peter Slater said “this is another amazing day for the ISF. Well done to (Country Manager) Kate Griffin, (Centre Manager) Kong Seiha and her team. Great stuff!” He also expressed his appreciation to Bilan-Cooper Family Foundation who have committed to sponsor this centre for 3 years and whose generosity made this possible.

Here are some comments from Kate about the first day at the new ISF Chbar Ampov Centre.

“What an amazing day! All of the preparations of the last few months came together for the Centre’s first day in operation!

When I arrived at 10.30am (having warned our visitors that I didn’t know what we were to expect given that it would probably take a few days for the kids to settle in) we were blown away by how calm and orderly everything was! All of the students were in their respective classes, looking extremely smart in their new uniforms, using the new materials they’d received and listening as attentively as they could to their teachers. We were briefly welcomed when we entered the class but almost just as quickly, the students returned to their lessons!

Those who were already able to write and had finished their lesson, were helping those who didn’t know how to write by placing their hand over the classmate’s hand and moving it to make the shapes of the words. It became immediately obvious that the recommendation from the UWC teachers in Singapore to have the children learn their lessons at square shaped desks so that those who were a little more advanced could work to help those who weren’t quite up to speed was automatically taking place. The sense of friendship among the students was immediately obvious and their confidence was surprising. Our staff clearly did a great job in making the children feel welcome as there weren’t too many nervous faces!!

When the lunch bell rang we had to make sure to step aside so as not to be mowed down by all 50 students rushing out the door at once en route to the dining room! It may have been day one but those children knew exactly what the 10.45am bell meant!! By the time we made it down to the dining room all the students were seated on the plastic mats eagerly awaiting the food being distributed by the staff and in no time the children were tucking in!

After lunch, our visitors helped us give the children their new school bags which went down a treat! It was evident how precious these were to the students when most of them either used them as pillows during sleep time that followed lunch or they wore the bags on their backs to ensure that when they woke up, the bags would still be in their possession!

The second half of the day sailed by and before anyone knew it, it was time to go home! As they were leaving to return home, the students asked Seiha ‘Do we really have to go now? Can’t we stay longer?’ We’re sure that by the end of the week they’ll be exhausted but hopefully still as enthusiastic about being there as they were today.

Full credit to Seiha and her amazing team who made it look like the school had been in operation for months! It was a really proud moment for me to see how our Cambodian staff succeeded in setting up a second centre with such minimal involvement from me!”