Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Cambodia Academy - Part 1

2 Buildings on either side of the courtyard hold the students
We scheduled the first 7 days of vacation, to coincide with the opening day of school at The Cambodia Academy at Mongkol Borei.
Prima Troxell talks with students who are receiving new uniforms
 Harvey is a board member for this free school in Cambodia and has been for about a year now. Our cousins, Primo and Prima Troxell, have been involved with this excellent cause for many,many years.  Opening day is a big deal for the kids who attend school there. All the board members go as well as many of the sponsors. The board is an international affair, with members from Sweden and Austria. The school boasts sponsors from around the world, as well as support from International Rotarian Clubs.

The Jamestown, NY Rotary supplied a new water filtration system
The School Bus - Supplied by a Rotary in Sweden
It is an arduous journey to get to Mongkol Borei, as the school was placed as far away as possible from civilization and built in the midst of rice fields: an oasis of education, in the middle of abject poverty.
Students cleaning up for Opening Day

Getting all the leaves up at the Teachers Lounge

Weeding the flowers
It took us 3 traveling days to get there: the flight to Bangkok, via Japan was 12 hours, an overnight stay in Bangkok, up the next morning for a 2-hour taxi ride to Don Meong Airport for a hour flight to Siem Reap and another two and a hold hour taxi ride to the school – of which there is no hotel near except for another 1.5 hour ride in the opposite direction. I’m exhausted just writing about it.
The KItchen-14,000 meals a month for students

Vice Principal Tang working on name tags
Nonetheless, it is all worth it. Prima and Primo have a winter home in Thailand, so they spend much time at the school, where we met them. Workers, teachers and the Troxell’s had been painting, getting school rooms ready, replacing roof overhangs. Mr. Tang, the schools vice principal, was busy making name tags for opening day for students, faculty and honored guests. Soviet Misch, the Principal, was busy arranging for tents, flowers, Cambodian Dignitaries. All the while, students were showing up for their 2 new uniforms (provided at no expense by the school) and school supplies (also free).
While all Cambodians are eligible for education, it is not entirely free. Students’ families must be able to afford uniforms, school books, supplies, transportation, and food. In addition, families must be able to afford to let their children spend time at school, as many families need the kids to work to make ends meet. The Cambodian Academy not only gives their students an education, it gives them a childhood which poverty robs them of. 
Spirit House and Classrooms on Campus
2nd Graders just getting their new uniforms
The students are very proud of their school. Not only are the teachers working, the students came to work making the school ready also. They were in charge of the grounds. There are kids everywhere, weeding and trimming the grass with hand-clippers, trimming trees and picking up leaves. 
With Shelly's sponsored students LamLan and Ratsmay
 Sponsorship for a child is 295.00 a year.

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