On September 18th September 2005 the opening of Savong’s School, newly constructed, was celebrated with a traditional Cambodian ceremony. That 8 years has gone by quickly, and the little three room school has grown dramatically since then, with more classrooms and the addition of computer teaching. I think more significantly, the professionalism of the school has also grown.
When we started teaching training had scarcely got underway in Cambodia’s reconstruction, so no teachers, anywhere, were particularly well-trained. But now our teachers have been completing their university degrees, and have also picked up many skills both from each other and from the volunteers, including many experienced teachers, we’ve had pass through the doors of the school.
To me, the school is a tribute to the children who attend voluntarily and who continue to show a real desire to better themselves and to lift their prospects.
I remember a little moment in 2011 when I hitched a ride from my Guest House into town, and a young guy offered me a ride on the back of his Honda. We talked a lot and I complimented him on his good conversational English. “I learned at Savong’s School,” he beamed.
For me, that was a golden moment. He didn’t know I had anything to do with the school, so to hear unvarnished pride (and great language skills) like that was a really good thing indeed.
To Savong, to the staff and to the students – today I wish you a happy birthday.