CAMBODIA: Don Bosco Audiovisual Center Educates Students in Media Communications
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Technical Center in Sihanoukville, a city in southwestern Cambodia located on the Gulf of Thailand, provides technical training and workforce development services to poor youth with limited opportunities for education. Known for its social communication and journalism program, the Don Bosco Technical Center is home to the Salesian-run Audiovisual Center which operates as a teaching institution for media communications while providing audiovisual production services to the local community.
Started in 2007 by Father Albeiro Rodas Samnang, rector of the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia, the Audiovisual Center trains youth from rural and disadvantaged communities in media communications with the goal of teaching them a viable trade that will lead to stable employment after graduation. In addition to courses in media communications, the center offers workshops facilitated by Cambodian journalists.
Students studying at the Audiovisual Center are able to apply the skills learned in the classroom by providing media production services to the public. These services include voice and music recording, audio and video editing and production and audio and video presentation in Khmer and English.
“The Audiovisual Center provides Cambodians the ability to use media and make a contribution to the country’s development, reducing poverty and empowering a culture of participation and democracy,” says Fr. Samnang. “Many of the graduates of the center have gained employment in Cambodian media through several television, radio, newspaper and digital media companies. In addition, the center has been supported by professional volunteers and Cambodian journalists sharing their experience with the students.”
The Don Bosco Technical Center in Sihanoukville is one of six technical schools supported by the Don Bosco Foundation in Cambodia. The Foundation provides technical skills training for youth between 16 and 22 who have completed at least the 8th grade. The technical schools are located in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep, Battambang and Poipet and provide courses in automotive, industrial mechanics, electricity and electronics, social communication, secretarial and office administration, tailoring, hospitality, welding, agriculture, information technology and language and arts communication.
“The Don Bosco technical schools are important for poor students in Cambodia and also for developing a skilled workforce for the local economy,” adds. Fr. Samnang. “Not only is education about learning to read and write, it provides a foundation for a career and a secure livelihood. Salesian educational programs bring new hope for Cambodian students and for their families.”
Cambodia has a long history of violence and conflict that has driven up poverty rates in the country. Having moved past the troubles of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s economy has been strengthening and the construction, tourism and agriculture industries have seen much growth. However, according to the World Bank, almost a quarter of Cambodians still live in poverty, many residing in the country’s most rural areas, and close to 75 percent of the population continues to face seasonal food shortages.
Rural Cambodians make up about 80 percent of the country’s population and have the most limited access to education, healthcare and other public services. Today, close to a quarter of Cambodians over the age of 15 are illiterate. With very little access to education, poor youth find it especially challenging to break the cycle of poverty and find hope for the future.
World Bank – Cambodia