State school support: Ratana’s journey to grade 10

Children who graduate from our Catch-up Education Programme have attained the necessary grade for their age to enable them to enter state school. At state school, students study Khmer, Social Science, Math and sciences for half a day. ISF supports them to attend state school and provides students with uniforms, school materials, monthly food parcels and more. In addition to this, they continue to have access to all of ISF’s programmes, including English and ICT lessons, extra-curricular activities, employment training and vocational support.

Kim Ratana*, currently a grade 9 state school student, moved from her hometown in Cambodia’s southeastern province of Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh to live with her aunt when she was just eight years old. She was hopeful that Phnom Penh could offer her a chance at receiving a better quality of education than her hometown but unfortunately her parents couldn’t afford to send her to school when she arrived.

Ratana’s aunt had heard of ISF and submitted an application. Ratana began studying at ISF in grade 2 and quickly developed a passion for learning. Back in her hometown Ratana admits to not being focused or working very hard but her journey with ISF has been a different story. After just one year in ISF’s Catch-up Education Programme, she joined state school.

Today, Ratana is 16 years old and is about to begin grade 10 next month. Earlier this year, she completed the national lower secondary education exam. In the weeks leading up to the exams, Ratana committed herself to waking up very early and revising all her lessons on Social Studies, Geography, Biology and practicing her Math, Physics and Chemistry exercises at home. She even joined extra classes at ISF with her friends and made sure to ask her teachers to clarify things she was struggling to understand. Despite two main challenges on exam day – feeling nervous about being in an exam room without her friends and having very little light in the roo