Battambang is a city in the north-west of Cambodia which is surrounded by small, poverty stricken villages. Many Cambodian families migrate to Thailand for work, taking their children out of school for months at a time. With no remedial or reentry classes run in government schools, many of these children drop out of school at an early age.
In 2006, local teacher Bunrith (Racky) Thy decided to start one small community school with the aim of “catching” drop outs and re-enrolling them into the public school system. Racky called these “supplementary classes” and, for the first 6 years, Children’s Action for Development (CAD) was funded entirely by Racky and donations from tourists. Students from the local university taught as volunteers at the school and the community, including the local pagoda, offered support by providing buildings, food and other materials.
- The Supplementary Class program operates 3 schools with a total of 365 children (including 25 pre-primary children), and
- Classroom of Hope operates in 7 government primary schools with 1762 children.
Nobody can doubt the enthusiasm to learn in Cambodia – they know this is the only way out of poverty.
Many of the children live in remote areas that flood annually. Subsistence farming is the main source of income and the average daily wage is around US$3.00.