COVID-19 has had incredible impact on every human being on the planet – it’s so rare to live through such an event…… The only way to describe the world we find ourselves in today, is surreal……. Some days it feels like we’re living in a movie, not reality...... A month ago many of us were taking our lives for granted, and today we understand how privileged we were to have those freedoms, choices and certainties…….
We know that we are competing with a lot of information, media updates and tragic news from pretty much every corner of the planet, but we thought we’d share with you some ‘normality’ and a ray of sunshine……..
Cambodia being a developing country, is at extreme risk should the COVID-19 virus start to spread – not only is there a lack of critical-care facilities, there is also a chronic shortage of basic healthcare facilities and preventative healthcare education is almost non-existent……. So the government moved early to close schools, then closed the borders and more recently moved to limit movement of citizens during the Khmer New Year period.
For us the Cambodia Rural Students Trust, Educating Future Leaders takes on more significance especially in difficult times, when people look for hope and reassurance and LEADERSHIP - we’re proud to share with you some of the incredibly inspirational activities our students – your students – have done as we continue to focus on our core values of EDUCATION and COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP.
LEADERSHIP through NGO community activities –
The impact of COVID-19 has decimated the tourism industry and we have temporarily shut down Project Y Frozen Yogurt, our Educational Social Enterprise. With rural high schools being closed, we have also suspended all workshops in Project G – Empowering Girls and Project R – Plastic Education for Future Leaders. We have ‘repurposed’ all our Project Teams to become COVID-19 Educators – We have spent several sessions teaching our students about COVID-19, they have done additional research about COVID-19 and we have partnered with District Governors to go to the countryside and educate villagers and monks about COVID-19; we believe that EDUCATION is the most critical step in not contracting the virus. Most villagers in rural Cambodia are illiterate and receive a lot of misinformation from social media and rumours – our core workshops on COVID-19 include what it is, how it infects the human body, why it’s a health threat, how to stay safe and useful contact phone numbers. We have also developed posters which are being hung at villages in Siem Reap Province. We have held workshops with Commune Leaders and Village Leaders, and our students continue to teach at villages and pagodas around Siem Reap Province, sharing vital information with thousands of rural Cambodians about how to stay safe.
EDUCATION programs update -
With schools and universities in Cambodia closed, we’ve ensured our students continue to study by alternate methods -
High school students –
We have arranged for tutors to teach at our NGO office, of course with social distancing and sanitizing protocols
We have signed-up our students for subject-specific online learning with supervision by our Education Team
Our aim is to ensure that at the end of the COVID-19 school shut-down, our students return to school with more knowledge, more confidence and more energy
University students are all studying online and have class chatrooms and Google Classroom assignments, presentations and assessments
All NGO students also participate in our Sharing Club where senior students teach for 3-4 hours about specific topics, sharing their knowledge with the high school and early-years university students
In these times of uncertainty for people all over the world, we are unified by the knowledge that we must continue to plan for a brighter day and make sure the next generation is well prepared to lead - thank you for sharing our journey!!