M’Lop Tapang’s “Back to School” program assists families who cannot afford to send their children to public school. Although public school is officially free for all Cambodian children, families are still required to pay for school uniforms, books and supplies. For many of the poorest families even these costs prevent them from sending their children for an education.
There are many different ways that our teams learn about children and families that could benefit from the Back to School program. Sometimes it is from a teacher who tells our team about a particular child who comes from a very poor family and is at risk of dropping out of school because of poverty.
It was in 2014 that a teacher form a local public school told us about Sovann* who was six years old at the time and in Grade 1. Sovann’s parents were separated and he lived with his mother and younger sister. With only a low paying job at a local nightclub, his mother was struggling to provide for the two young children and explained that paying for Sovann’s school costs meant that sometimes her family didn’t have the money to buy enough food.
After meeting the family it was decided that Sovann would be an ideal candidate for the Back to School Program. It has been three years now and we are happy to report that Sovann is still in school and doing well in his Grade 3 class.
Our Outreach team also loaned his mother a small amount of money so that she could start to make food to sell in her neighborhood to earn a little extra income. She continues to do this and has even managed to pay back the money that M’Lop Tapang loaned her. “I am very happy that my children can stay in school and have more food now” she told us.
*name and photo changed for confidentiality
Learn more about our “Back to School” program at: http://mloptapang.org/projects/back-to-school-program/