This initiative includes funding for the daily running costs of the school, along with 200 scholarships a year
Cambodia has been devastated by political unrest, years of civil war, extreme poverty and widespread HIV/AIDS. The notorious Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia in the 1970s is estimated to have killed 1.5 million people. Teaching materials were systematically destroyed, schools were burned and many teachers were killed. Peace returned to Cambodia at the end of the 1990s, but the country still suffers from its violent past. The school system is now being rebuilt, starting from scratch. In 2009 the Hempel Foundation supported the construction of a new school in Battambang, close to the Thai border. The Cambodian government donated the ground, but before construction work could begin the ground had to be completely cleared of land mines, drained and levelled, and a new road intersection had to be built. The school opened its doors in November 2009, and was soon in use by 500 children, all eager to learn to read and write.
A total of 12 classrooms can accommodate up to 500 pupils, from 5 to 15 years of age. It has all the facilities children need for learning and recreation: computers, language laboratory, music room, art room, library, and a multi-functional gymnasium.
The 500 pupils include children from the nearby SOS Children's Village, children of middle-class families who are charged moderate school fees, and children from the poorest families in the area. This mix of children from different backgrounds helps them to develop their social skills and form networks across socioeconomic boundaries.
The Hempel Foundation provides funding for the school's daily running costs, along with 200 scholarships a year to ensure that the poorest children in the area have the chance to attend school. These scholarships cover school fees and other requirements such as uniforms, shoes, schoolbags, books and lunch. The provision of lunch at school ensures that the children eat at least one good, nutritious meal each day, which enhances their learning outcomes.
The project is a partnership with SOS Children's Villages.