CCF extends its satellite reach

Had William Shakespeare been alive, well and participating in Applications Night for places in CCF’s soon opening new satellite school, he might have found himself with food for thought. In his own experience, children tended to be seen ‘creeping like a snail unwillingly to school’. On that night, any snail creeping around Preak Toal, a scavenger settlement of shacks and huts linked by tracks of mud, rocks and rubbish and the location of the third satellite school, would have been taking its life into its own hands. The children of the area knew the school’s arrival means the educational chance of their lifetime. A hyper-willing throng of would-be students, often accompanied by equally keen parents and relatives, their long held goal of becoming a school pupil within sudden and unexpected reach, trod the local paths flat. William would have looked in vain for any hint of unwillingness or any shred of school aversion.

Although CCF staff expected about 100 applicants, that night they were presented with some 240 applications, demonstrating the great need for CCF’s services. Acceptance into the satellite school program also offers each child a CCF supported public school placement, the whole amounting to a package of opportunity and aid that these usually under-served and always impoverished children could only dream of without CCF as a presence in their midst and in their lives.

One of the highlights of the enrollment day was a visit from Australian TV cook and former Master Chef contestant, Poh Ling Yeow, who was in town filming an episode for her TV show, Poh’s Kitchen. With each student receiving a hot meal every day, we seized the opportunity to get a few tips from Poh.

Like its predecessors, the new school is a mini-complex of open-air, roofed, basically furnished bright classrooms with supporting facilities. A key and focal element is a fully roomed and protected computer lab, housing some 20 PCs. Mastery of these will combine with the English language studies which every pupil will undertake to give each of them a real educational edge, an edge which should one day translate into an equally real benefit when it is their turn to further their studies or seek work in Cambodia’s growing but skills-deficient economy. Given the enthusiasm and application the new pupils will doubtless invest in their school experience, the success that should follow in time is definitely, as Shakespeare might also have noted, ‘a consummation devoutly to be wished’

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