CAMBODIA: Don Bosco Foundation Donates Books Ensuring More Students Have Access to Education
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Foundation, located in Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city of Cambodia, recently donated books to a new school library and a literary center for indigenous children in the Ratanakiri Province of northern Cambodia. The literacy center, founded by a Salesian graduate, offers lessons in mathematics, the English language and Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, to more than 50 students.
“A new book in the hands of a student opens him or her up to the opportunities that are available through education,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While this is true whether it takes place down the street or across the globe, it is especially powerful in places like Cambodia.”
Salesian missionaries from the Don Bosco Foundation are eager to support the literacy center since schools in the Ratanakiri province are experiencing many challenges including limited access to qualified teachers, books and necessary school supplies. Often qualified teachers abandon their classrooms once they find a more stable job with a better salary.
The Don Bosco Foundation is currently seeking additional donations for the literacy center including chairs, tables and boards that will help meet their goal of a new computer room for students. Started in 1991, the Don Bosco Foundation provides educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth and orphans. Educational opportunities include basic and secondary schooling and advanced learning through technical skills training.
Currently, the Foundation supports six technical schools 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 Foundation supports the Don Bosco Children’s fund, which gives younger students the ability to continue their studies by assisting with costs for school and school supplies. Support services including tutoring for students and workshops for parents, to help them understand the importance of educating their children, are also provided.
“Many parents in Cambodia did not have the same opportunities for education as their children do today so they do not see staying in school as a priority, particularly when many children have been forced to work to bring in extra money for the family,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Youth need the extra support to stay in school and get an education. Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Children’s Fund provide that much needed support and stability to help youth achieve.”
Cambodia has a long history of violence that has resulted in a quarter of Cambodians living in poverty and surviving on less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. About 80 percent of the country’s population resides in rural areas and has 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. To provide youth with greater opportunity, Salesian missionaries in the country operate 45 schools in poor, rural villages through a partnership between Salesian Missions and the Ministry of Education in addition to seven vocational training centers that impart much needed job skills.
World Bank – Cambodia