Bye Bye Soit – for now …

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My daughter Nell says that this is the saddest post she has seen – and she has seen them all. Nell has a Doctorate in Education.

Our dreams and goals are continually challenged.

Our aim is to provide basic education in the Khmer language to ALL our regions children. This effectively means, Khmer reading and writing, mathematics, science, history, geography and  a lesson akin to General Studies (or SOSE in Australia.) Tian, one of our teachers also teachers very basic English.

A new or secondary aim WILL BE at least a selective High School level of Education. This WAS planned through a major fund raising Dinner by a Golf Club in The South of France – this Dinner and hence the High School is now sadly on hold or cancelled – see a recent Blog.

We have at any one time around 40 students age 14 –  15 who the teachers regard as of eventual University standard. The first problem is getting the students to a distant High School which we can do for about ten of ‘OUR’ graduates in the Tuk Tuk kindly donated by Peter Greenwell of Beaudesert Rotary. …….

……. Today illustrates the second problem.

 

……. Soit (pronounced ‘sew it’ said quickly) was one of our top 40 students. Soit is 14 years of age. Her father died 3 years ago. They are one of our very poorest families. They don’t own a rice field. Basically they cannot afford for Soit not to work. (our schools are free but the family has to eat)

In the photos you see Soit desperately insisting that she wear this hat  (from The Rotary Club of Beaudesert) getting into a mini bus with her mother to trave with her hat to the far south west corner of Cambodia to the Island of Koh Kong where she will work on a Chinese owned flower farm for US$3 per day. She will not attend a school. (if you are not crying at this stage – I certainly am)

There is no ‘buying her back’ or a belated scholarship at least yet – we have to let this go for at least a year or two.. I will stay in touch through the extended families.

Soit was one of our founding students and so has had a full six years of Education. In a big way we have achieved what we set out to do – given her the start (at least) of a basic education. She has not been sold into the sex industry and knows a little of the world from her schooling. Even if Soit never goes to School again we will have an educated mother one day. As I said the other day in my previous post – she WILL come back to the villages so – me being a somewhat determined kind of guy  - Soit will have to wait but is not forgotten.

John

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