Helping children to begin and continue their schooling goes hand-in-hand with helping families emerge from poverty. Through our External Education Program, we combine satellite school, public school reintegration, family assistance and a trust fund to give families the best possible chance to rise out of poverty while making sure the kids get the education they need. Students start off in Satellite School learning Khmer and English and, depending on their ages, will go into our Operation Rescue Program. We provide school uniforms, study support and monthly support, either in cash or rice, to their families. To help families escape life at the garbage dump, we sit down with them and make a Family Future Plan. For many families their future is only as far as their next meal. These plans help families in real poverty see light at the end of the tunnel. We work actively with each family to help them meet the goals they set in the Family Future Plan.
At CCF, we have created a trust fund system. Each month, $20 is put into a trust account for students' families. Bonuses of up to $50 are given to parents if their child attends school regularly, if they stop their child from doing paid work and if they provide a more peaceful, stable family life. When the family reaches a predetermined goal, perhaps enough to buy back pawned land or set up a small business, the parents can borrow the money from the trust fund at zero interest. This money can be an essential part of repaying debt or lifting the family out of poverty.
We stay actively involved with the External Education students' families in handling all their problems and concerns, including their domestic situations.