Monday, April 7, 2014

Creating a Fun Place to Read!


Reading opens up doors to other worlds for students and improves their knowledge and vocabulary. Reading is a great hobby for students in between their classes. Sometimes students can get additional materials to support their study, and sometimes they get easy methods to help solve their homework.


 Students enjoy reading books on the swing under the tree

Last month we told you about the improvements made in the library. The result has been more and more students who love coming to read their favorite books there.

The Challenge is that sometimes we don't have enough space for them to read...
...But now our international volunteer Frank Mullen has found a Solution for this.

Frank is an architect and builder who has been volunteering the past 5 months to help build and maintain buildings on SC's campus, including a place for the dancing class and a great new Reading Room for the students.

Students reading books in the library

Frank is an architect and builder who has been volunteering the past 5 months to help build and maintain buildings on SC's campus, including a place for the dancing class and a great new Reading Room for the students.

Working with our Volunteer Architect!


 Old and Abandoned Structure before Rebuilding

From Frank Mullen:
"When I arrived at SC in November, there was a crumbling structure on campus that had provided shade so that the school children could have an outdoor place for reading. Since then the demand for space has only increased, but the structure is gone. I tore it down to make way for the new one. It was only three years old... That's the nature of thatched roofs."

 Frank Mullen, our onsite volunteer, dismantling the old structure

"The new structure is bigger, but it has a metal roof, and it's put together with notches and screws so it might enjoy a twenty year life. My Cambodian accomplice and I built it, with the exception of the two times when we needed help lifting big things into place."

Building Activities

"I'm an American architect. I came here to spend one year working through the list of building projects on the main campus in Pursat, to help build as many of them as I could, and to raise enough money to increase the budget so that the solutions will last a generation, not a couple of years. I've spent a lot of time in Southern Indiana and Eastern Pennsylvania, so I'm plenty familiar with Amish construction techniques, but I had never seen an Amish barn-raising before. Now I have."

Building Activities

"Ponlue, SC's manager of Community Development projects, is a civil engineer, and has been a great resource for me. When the structure for the reading roof was nearly complete, I asked him for help with raising it onto the frame. He said he would take care of it, and we agreed on 4:00 that afternoon. He didn't say how it was going to happen - he just said that it would. I learned from the last thing I tried to raise that my American planning isn't worth a tinker's darn in Cambodia, so this time I stuck to finishing the parts. Ponlue had never let me down before. He's good like that."

"The traditional Khmer roof shape has a central steeply-pitched gable with a lower-pitched roof surrounding it. Often these lower roofs are open-air, providing shade to the exterior walls of the building and sometimes an outdoor veranda. When SC described for me the requirements of this new building and their desire for a traditional roof, I immediately thought of a scissors truss. They're relatively light and use material very efficiently; their geometry does some of the heavy lifting."

The status of the construction now

"Scissors trusses were pioneered in medieval Europe, since they were so well suited to the clear spans and vaulted shapes of Gothic cathedrals and other monumental buildings. If you have a vaulted ceiling in your house, there's a good chance the ceiling is supported by the bottom chord of a scissors truss or one of its variations. Cambodians have no tradition of building trusses and then lifting them onto a building. Some of them thought I was a real nut case. Some of them still do."

"A little before 4:00 pm, Ponlue showed up with 10 Cambodian guys in flip-flops and a dump truck. That's when I knew it was time to stand aside and watch."

"The rebirth of the reading shelter will be complete in two weeks, when it will take its place in the collection of buildings that is the campus of Sustainable Cambodia. I'm proud of this project, and I know the school children and their families will benefit from it for many years to come."

 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thanks for the New Library - It inspires the children to love reading!

Thank you for helping to make a huge difference in the lives of Cambodian children and their families. All of us together - the families, Rotarians from around the world, Sustainable Cambodia Australia, and our dedicated SC staff and international volunteers - are working to help village families and children improve their quality of life with healthy water, nutritious food, health care, education, and sustainable income generation. With your great support, we can help more than 4500 children from preschool through university to enrich their educations and to succeed in their lives.

Library Comes Alive as a Colorful Resource Center Where Students Learn Together!


For our students, libraries can be a place to learn and grow with a whole world of different subjects and stories, right at their fingertips. Over the years, thousands of kindly donated books on fantastically diverse subjects have been squeezed together onto our library shelves. All our library needed was the vision and experience to transform this special space into a lively resource center. With easier access to books and new interactive activities, our students can grow as independent and group learners. Everyone can be an explorer through the magic of books!

The great news is that volunteer Julie Johnson, recently retired from the University of Florida, was just that person to lead the way. A lifelong educator and literacy trainer, Julie was onsite with SC to lead the Reading ~ Writing Workshops for our teachers.  As soon as Julie saw the huge potential of our library, she and a tireless group of Youth Club members, teachers and volunteers got to work!

Students and their librarian enjoying their new discoveries inside the library

At first, we all thought Julie was nuts pulling all the books off the shelves and running around with her arms filled with books. But you know what, now we just can't believe the transformation that took place. Our students are now eagerly running to the library to read their favorite books and to discover new books that they have never seen before. The students' attendance and their study results are already improving.  It's amazing what books can do.

Sorting books, labeling and adding Khmer translations! 


Youth Club Members Kim Chou and Horm Setha helping to sort the books into groups

Vet Bora carefully writing the Khmer words beside the English words to help readers teach themselves

Books that display the covers "facing out" attract young readers!


Children smile with their new library!

 

 
 
Our librarian Sengkea engages students in reading circles and magnetic Word!

A library is an ocean of knowledge. Both students and teachers benefit highly from the library.

Reading opens up doors to other worlds for students and improves their knowledge and vocabulary.  And reading is a great hobby for students in between their classes.  Sometimes students can get additional materials to support their study and sometimes they get easy methods to help solve their homework.

Julie (center) and our teachers after the training on how to use the library effectively


Now, our once-challenged library is an energized learning oasis. Julie demonstrated the art of sorting and the effective use of brightly colored book bins, each with a specific label in Khmer and English for guidance in the new library layout. With only a few minutes left before it was time to return to Florida, Julie and her helpers completed the shelves of book bins based on the subjects: Real-Life (Social Science, People, Geography), Science (Earth and Space, Animals, the Human Body), Khmer Books, Stories and Folk Tales, Poetry, Word Walls and Alphabet Books, Teacher Resources, Learning Charts, and Resource Books for advanced studies.

Our students and teachers now use our SABAY LIBRARY as a great resource for learning!
In the Khmer language, Sabay means Happy!


More and more students love reading books in the library.

Our library plays an important role in promoting the progress of learning and improves our students' study results and their social skills.



"Hello! My name is Mono. I am a teacher of English at Sustainable Cambodia. I have been working here for two years. I am delighted to see the improvement of our library. Thank you very much to Julie for reorganizing our library into categories so that it is easier for us and the students to find our interesting books."


"Hello, teachers and all! My name is Chroeng Sopheaktra and I am studying in grade 7. I have come to study at SC since 2009. Thank you Julie for making our library more beautiful. I love non-fiction books and I can now find them very easily. My friends and I love coming to read books in the library so much."


"Hello everyone! My name Sengkea and I am a librarian here at SC. I would like to say thank you very much to Julie for making our library an interesting place for our students and teachers. I have noticed that more teachers and students love coming to read books in the library more often, and they can find their favorite books very easily. Other teachers and I have taught our students on how to find and well use their interesting books. Thank you Julie once again for making this library attractive and useful to everyone. I will try to look after this library very well like what Julie suggested us to do."



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bikes inspire our students to study hard!

Thank you for helping to make such a huge difference in the lives of the Cambodian children and families whom we help. All of us together help to make this happen - the families, Rotarians from around the world, Sustainable Cambodia Australia, and our dedicated SC staff and international volunteers - all working to help village families and children improve their quality of life, with healthy water, nutritious food, health care, education, and sustainable income generation.

One challenge for many students from poor families in our target areas is that they cannot travel from their distant homes to their local school because of lack of transportation. Their families are unable to afford to buy the children a bicycle so that they can get to school in a timely fashion. The result is often that they miss lessons, subsequently get low marks, and may even drop out of school.

 Students coming to SC school with their new bikes 

With your help, more than 385 wells are providing safe water, more than 4,500 students are currently enrolled in Sustainable Cambodia schools, and hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have been able to change their lives for the better.  None of this would be happening without supporters like you!


Students Can Dream Bigger With Bikes!

Bikes from the Rotary Clubs in 2014

The purpose of the Bike Sponsorship project is to help our children whose homes are in distant villages get to school on time and regularly. With a bicycle, the student is given the opportunity to attend all of their classes, earn good grades, and to graduate high school.

More than 10% of the children from our remote outreach schools - SC and Sustainable Cambodia Australia schools - drop out of school before they graduate. This is often because they are late for their classes or cannot attend their classes due to the lack of transportation. By providing these students with bicycles, we reduce their drop-out rates and help them succeed.



This month 85 students are receiving bikes through the Bike Sponsorship program from the Rotary Club of Sentosa and the Rotary Club of Suntec City through the Rotary Club of Pursat. These children are now able to attend school regularly and get better grades in their classes, both in our education program and in the state schools.



Students are also using their new bicycles to help friends and relatives, by sharing or riding in pairs, so one bike can benefit more than one child.
    
Last year, 209 Sustainable Cambodia students received bikes through the Bike Sponsorship project. By providing bicycles, we can give the poorest students the same opportunities! Please consider helping us with this important work, by contributing the SC Education Program.






"Hello teachers and everyone! My name is Phum Dine (on right) and I am 12 years old. I am studying in grade 6, and I joined SC in 2013.

I am very happy and thankful to get this new bike. Previously, it was so difficult for me to come to study everyday without my own bike because my parents cannot afford to buy it for me. I had to walk about 40 minutes from home to SC school everyday, and some lucky days I shared a bike with one of my friends. I was often late for class and missed some lesson everyday. Now I am happy to come to study everyday on time. Thank you to all supporters."

(on left) "Hello my name is Sem Rasin and I joined SC when I was in grade 2, now I am studying in grade 6. Thank you very much for giving this bike. I love it so much because it is one of my friends now. It is always with me all the time. With it, I can go to school on time and regularly."



The girl said in Khmer: " Good morning teacher and all! My name is Run Rathana. I joined SC in 2013 and I am now studying in grade 3 of Sthany primary school. Before I got this bike, I walked to school everyday and I was always very tired when I arrived my school so I did not feel well to study. I often got bad study results because I was often late for class and absent a lot. Now I am really happy to come to school and I will try to study hard to get good study results. Thank you everyone for giving me this bike."

To help the children with their education:
Click here to sponsor a child today!




Monday, December 23, 2013

Best Wishes from Cambodia to You!

As we enter this holiday season, we are grateful for all the support you have given this past year.


Our international operations are 100% volunteer, and any overhead is paid by the founders, so that 100% of your funding goes directly into the Cambodian projects.

Through your generosity, children and families are receiving the gift of empowerment, and are rebuilding their lives. 


You can share and spread joy by sponsoring a student. 

When you give a "pass-on animal", you empower the families, enabling them to help other families by passing on the gift to other families.



Through wells and bio-sand filters, children can lead healthy lives and stay in school. Contributing to a well or water filter is a meaningful holiday gift and can change a life. 



Everyone at Sustainable Cambodia wishes you and your family a joy-filled holiday, and thanks you for all you do to make the world a better place!

Teachers at Sylvia Lasky Memorial School


To help the children with their education:

From the Children to You...



"Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! We wish you all the very best."






Thanks to all YOU do!

Thank you for helping to make such a huge difference in the lives of the Cambodian children and families whose lives we touch together. All of us together help to make this happen - the families, Rotarians from around the world, Sustainable Cambodia Australia, and our dedicated SC staff and international volunteers - all working to help village families and children improve their quality of life, with healthy water, nutritious food, health care, education, and sustainable income generation.

A few of the 4,500 students in our education program! 

With your help, more than 385 wells are providing safe water, more than 4,500 students are currently enrolled in Sustainable Cambodia schools, and hundreds of thousands of Cambodians have been able to change their lives for the better. None of this would be happening without supporters like you!

Children helping the family in the home vegetable garden

And the work continues to spread with everyone's help: We are now expanding our projects to assist another 455 families in Prey O'mal, a new village in Pursat province.

Read below to discover more...
To help the children with their education:

Expanding to 455 Families in Prey O'mal


With great support from Rotary Clubs internationally, we are expanding our programs to Prey O'mal village.


Prey O'mal is a very poor and remote village which is spread out over a fairly large area. Although called a "village", it actually comprises 11 smaller communities, with a total of 455 families and nearly 2,000 people.

A view of the Prey O'mal village area

Prey O'mal is newly settled, and the villagers are generally living at very low levels of community and economic development. A large majority of residents are subsistence farmers or day-laborers in the surrounding farmlands. A small number also finds employment in the market, but some find they must migrate to Thailand and/or other provinces in Cambodia to supplement their income while farming their own parcels of land.

Families during the needs assessment meeting

Based on the initial needs assessment, conducted with the Rotary Club of Pursat, the project will include water bio-sand filters, wells, rain water harvesting tanks, latrines, community ponds, road repairing, animal raising,  home gardening, crop loans/business loans, and sanitation and hygiene training. 

Last month, we distributed 50 water bio-sand filters together with 50 blue water containers to 50 families in Prey O'mal. 

Villagers and SC staff during the distribution of the BSFs

The following are some people who have received the water bio-sand filters from us.  They want to tell YOU about their experience. Of course, they all spoke in Khmer, but we have translated....

Children drinking water from the BSF at home

"Hello, everyone! We are very happy that now we can have clean water to drink every day. We are happy that we can go to study on time because we don't need to boil water for drinking before going to school as we used to do. Thank you so much for giving us this BSF and the opportunity to get good education."

           Mr. Em Khoeurn and his family 

"Hello everyone, my name is Em Khoeurn and I am 45 years old this year. This my wife and my two sons. We are farmers living in Prey O'mal village. 

"Previously, we spent a lot of our time on boiling water for drinking everyday. And sometimes we drank the unboiled water because we didn't have the time or fuel to boil. From this, we would get sick sometimes, which cost us a lot of money to buy the medicine. Now with the BSF filter, we have clean water to drink and we have more time for our work in the field. And we don't get sick now. So we are healthy. 

Thank you all supporters and all SC staff for helping my family and my community. We wish you all good jobs, success and good health."

 Mr. Chann Sovanna and his wife, Em Ruon

"Hello, how are you? We are very happy because now we have the BSF to help us clean our drinking water everyday. After the training, we are so confident to drink this water. Thank you everyone for supporting my family and our community."

Art from the Children to You 



To help the children with their education:




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sewing Towards a Brighter Future

Thanks to supporters like you, and Rotarians from around the world, Sustainable Cambodia and Sustainable Cambodia Australia are able to help thousands of village children get a quality education through our community preschools, primary schools, and enrichment schools.


Students and trainer in the sewing class

The Sewing Program, one of our programs, was established in order to offer potential drop-out students an opportunity to learn a vocation to support themselves and their families. The sewing class graduates are not only trained in sewing practices, but also in running a small business. This is accomplished through trainings covering money management, marketing, and fair trade practices. 

Here are some products our students have made...





Trainees are trained to make a variety of souvenirs and clothing such as purses, shoulder bags, scarves, pyjamas, and dress shirts. They learn best practices in creating high quality products that can receive a good price at the market. Graduate sewing students gain valuable skills and have income earning opportunities through self-employment or employment with another small business, as they will have experience with sewing, being involved in a small business, and marketing activities. 


Now we have launced a project on Kickstarter to raise the money to enable our students in the sewing class to invest in their creativity, and innovation. Click here to contribute to the project!

Read below to discover more...
To help the children with their education: Click here to sponsor a child today! 

Sewing Towards a Brighter Future!  



Help Sustainable Cambodia start a fair trade sewing business, and launch our products at an artisanal craft fair in Siem Reap!
 
Sustainable Cambodia works with vulnerable populations in an effort to offer families and children in need a brighter future. Our attempt to create a fair-trade sewing business is the graduate component and complement to sewing classes that we offer in our schools, and is targeted at young women who have expressed no interest in pursuing further studies upon graduation. The fair-trade sewing business aspires to construct an environment in which these young women are taught tangible skills while they are still in school-in advanced sewing techniques, product design, fair trade guidelines, and business management-so as to enable them to confront their trade head-on, and run their own business or be employed by our own fair trade business, demand permitting, upon graduation.


Our student Sokly said: "Thank you SC and all supporters for providing me a good opportunity to learn sewing skills here after I left school. Now I am so hopeful for my future. I will use this skill to make money to support my family. Now I have more classmates to learn with me here and I am happy to share my knowledge and skills with them." 

Right now, our sewing club is a recreational site on our school campus in Pursat where students come in their free time to learn basic sewing techniques. The club is overseen by supervisors-themselves former Sustainable Cambodia students-who work on campus making school uniforms and small Sustainable Cambodia souvenirs including wallets and shoulder bags. Operating within this very small market, and without the money to invest in material, there is no possibility of expanding the program or to be more experimental in our products and designs-every piece that is not sold operates at a loss.  

Our sewing club members playing around with our new product: the Khmer infinity scarf!

Your contribution will enable us to purchase the material that we need--colourful, traditional Khmer fabrics--to experiment and work towards creating a line of products that reflects a uniquely Khmer interpretation of traditional and modern designs. It will allow us to be bold and experimental in our approaches, and to distinguish ourselves from other fair trade sellers. It will also give us the opportunity to test this new line at an artisanal craft fair in Siem Reap in January, 2014. 


Trainer Malai said: "We are very busy preparing and making more products for the artisanal craft fair in Siem Reap in January, 2014. We hope we can showcase and sell our products to more people at the event. It is our first time to participate in this kind of event. Thank you all supporters for supporting us on this project."
Below you'll find pictures of some of the new products that we're testing and hoping to launch--make sure you check out our pledge and reward structure to see how you might get your hands on the first prototypes!

The Violet Khmer infinity scarf! 

The Bordeaux Khmer Infinity Scarf!

The Mustard Khmer Infinity Scarf! 


 ... Surprise!

Click here to help Sustainable Cambodia start a fair trade sewing business, and launch our products at an artisanal craft fair in Siem Reap!