Be the Change Network

aka "Kari's Blog"

Archive for December, 2012

The SSI Effect – What the Villagers have to say

December 27, 2012 By: Kari Category: General No Comments →

December 22nd, 2012: Special Report from Paul Chuk

An interview with teachers, students and village parents about the effect that SSI is having on their lives. Here is what the villagers say about SSI’s work and its effect.

From the school principal:
At BP (Bonteay Pranak Elementary), there has been much progress which makes the principal smiling. Soung Mao will become the new principal in January. He used to work as principal assistant for a few years and now prepares himself to replace the old principal who will be retired in the end of this year. This is what he said: Since SSI representative stayed here working with us at our school, there are so many good things happening that make me very happy and grateful. We used to have a hard time just to have the teachers to come to work. Now they show up in a regular basis with minimum absent. Teachers have their own place with solar system, the water tank, the fish pond, the incinerator and the landscaping which adds to beautify our school. My boss congratulated me for all of the improvement that has been made. I told him that the result comes from SSI’s support and the commitment from its staffs to make all progress possible. I notice that students do not skip school like before and there is about 30% increase in students attendance overall. I can’t thank SSI and its staffs enough for turning our school around to be a good school as it is now. Please tell everyone involved in this important effort that without the hard work of all the supporters, especially Kari our school will never be as good as it is.

Teacher Prum Kamsan at the teacher fish pond

Prum Kamsan, a primary teacher: I’ve been working here for more than seven years. I used to be depressed with work and unhappy with my life as a teacher because of the low salary and miserable life that I struggled to survive. Before, I had such a difficult time living alone in a rundown building where it had no electricity, water and decent place to stay. I thought about moving back to my home town in Battambong. After Om (uncle) Paul came to work with us, he has made so much progress within a short period of time. Now we have just about everything we need: solar electricity, water tank, fish pond, vegetable, nice kitchen full of pots and pans and stockroom along with many other improvement on landscaping and more. To have all of these necessary arrangement, I feel very happy and comfortable living here. Now I changed my mind and not wanting to go home any more. Instead I want to help SSI to make this school even better with the new idea from Om Paul who has shared his view with us. He encourage us to do the best we can. I want to marry someone and make this place a permanent home for my family.

Rav Vichet, a male new teacher at BP secondary: There are four other teachers who I stay with in this building. We work together as a team to help Om Paul to improve our school. We are like a big family. We now can brag about how lucky we are and change the perspective of all of our friends who used to tease us saying that working in Aural District is like living in hell. As a result of all the hard work from SSI, this school has become an attractive place to work and no one makes fun of us. It makes a lot of sense to have a vision like SSI’s.

Toeun Khay, 5th grade male student: I am happy to see our school is very clean without any garbage polluting the school yard like other schools. Our school is more and more beautiful all the time. Each week there is something different and better with flowers, new plants and playground. I want to come to school everyday because we now we have water faucet in each restroom so we don’t have to carry it from the well every morning to fill up the restroom water tank. I also like to play soccer and volley ball. I especially happy to have my teacher comes to work everyday unlike last year, he missed a lot. This makes my parents and all the students extremely happy. On behalf of all the students at Bonteay Pranak Elementary, I want to thank Kari and Om Paul for making our school the way it is now. I notice that some students from various villages want to come to our school now because it is a good school in the area. We like to help Om Paul because he is working very hard, and we want to make our school better.

Peo Sinuon, 5th grade female student: I love our school because it is beautiful now. Our school now has everything that we need. One of the most important parts of all is our teachers come to work everyday. All of my friends are saying the same: we now have good school and good teachers. We have a lot of fun helping Om Paul to build a better school for us.

9th grade students at Bonteay Pranak Secondary School


Increase number of students in 9th grade:

From Kheng Sokrim, the principal at BP Secondary: I can’t describe how happy I am to see an amazing result that this school has made since Om Paul was here. What I can tell you is that soon we will have a different kind of problem: we will need to build more building as the 9th graders increases its number of students. Last year we only have 14 students in 9th grade. This year, we have 27. That is almost double from a year ago. Thanks to SSI from the bottom of my heart. Kanpong Speu Educational Department began to take note and give us a high mark for such an amazing progress.

From On Srey Leap, 9th grade female: we are very pleased and thrilled to have all the teachers to come on time everyday, not perfect, but so much better. It is fun to learn and easy to understand because the new teachers with new attitude who know how to explain clearly and open to all questions that we have. This year we have good discipline in class, actually the whole school system is much better with just about everything, not many students are dropping out or late to class. We have a dedicated and organized place to park the bicycles and motorcycles making our school looks very attractive. We lock the front gate after 7 a.m. If anyone come late, they will have to water the plants for a penalty. It has been working very well. I thought about dropping out before, but now since our school is a wonderful place to be which has many new things added to it, especially good teachers, I want to stay in school for as long as I could. All of my friends in 9th grade feel the same way. We are having a lot of fun learning and laughing. Even during the weekend, if we have time we want to come to school just to enjoy and hangout with the female teachers who have been very nice to us.

Heng Sokna, male student in 9th grade: I like our school a lot now. I especially like the library the most because I like to read. In the future we want to see our school become the model school in the region. I also want our school to have art and music class, computer class, painting class, a special English class with foreigner teacher and small engine repair if possible. Most of us want to earn higher education. We want to follow the example of the scholarship students who have been supported by SSI.

Pen Morn, villager living near Bonteay Pranak Secondary School

We hope that SSI will give us a chance just like the group from last year who we know them from our village. We are now worrying that if SSI does not help us, we would never be able to make it on our own. We really want to move on to 10th grade and higher so we can have a better future. Please ask Kari to help us, and we promise to do our best to learn and to convince our parents to let us stay in school longer. One of my friends dropped out last year at 9th grade.

Now she regrets not staying in school because she sees that we are having fun learning, and our school is very nice. She really wants to come back.

Villager opinion: Throughout the village near BP, the villagers are impressed and happy.

Here is Pen Morn 63 year-old, a respectful man living a mile away from school. BP now is day and night in comparison to before and after SSI came to help. I pass by school almost everyday, and I see things changed gradually and now we have a good school for our children to attend. We are very pleased to see the result, but I feel that we didn’t do enough to help out. We need to get more involved including myself. I need to stop by perhaps after I am done with the rice harvesting, I could talk to my neighbor to see what we can do the help. I don’t feel it is fair or right to not doing anything because we want the same thing: a good school for our kids. I think we need to talk to the village chief and get active. The guy who lives across the street from school told me that since Om Paul came, this school has made a tremendous progress which is very impressive.


Chhuon Khoeun, villager & volunteer at Sre Chrap primary school

Chhuon Khoeun, male villager at SC (Sre Chrap) elementary. He is a regular volunteer who is very active in helping what SC school needs. This is what he said: I am ecstatic to have SSI’s support to make our school a very good school with much improvement now. This is an unprecedented event that took place at our school because we are located in a very remote place. It has never happened before until SSI organization came to share their vision to make a difference in a big way in our community. We would like to see a long term support from SSI, to continue to support us so our children will have good school to go to earn good education. All the children are excited and want to come to school everyday. We have a good group of volunteers beside me who are always getting involved by doing the work or donating wood material. Now we are working hard to build a common kitchen and stockroom. We will try to get it done as soon as we can so we can serve breakfast to the kids. This breakfast is provided by World Food Program. We would like to thank SSI for their assistance. We wish them all the best with good health so they can continue their support.