Sir Graham Balfour School Cambodia – International Charity
Chi Phat, Koh Kong Province, Cambodia.
In 2002, through the help of World Assistance for Cambodia, we began supporting a primary school in Chi Phat village, rural Cambodia. By 2003, $16,000 had been raised and this money was used to build a brand new school in the village, with a further $18,000 raised by 2010 to fund an extension.
We have remained fully committed to this worthwhile cause and every year pupils raise thousands of pounds through a variety of fundraising events. The donations allow us to pay for the salary of an English and Computing teacher, which the school itself would not be able to afford. The difference to the children’s lives that the education of these subjects provides is immense. By receiving an education in English and Computing, opportunities are created to careers that otherwise would be too difficult to achieve. The ambitions of pupils to become teachers and doctors is now a realistic possibility.
Over the 18 years of supporting the school, students, parents, teachers, and the local community have helped raise a truly outstanding $80,000. This continuing generosity enables us, every year, to provide every pupil with exercise books and stationary. In addition, we provide the school with teaching resources, classroom furniture, sports and playground equipment and pay for the school to have electricity. The difference that our support makes to the lives of children in Chi Phat is outstanding and everyone associated with the school is incredibly proud.
“We are very thankful for what you do for the children in Chi Phat. I went the school in 2007 and my sister and brother. I am now a tour guide, my sister has gone to university and is now a teacher and my brother is now a policeman. Before, nobody could speak English, the older generation cannot, but now we can. We now have jobs that we would not have without the school.”
Cambodia School Visit
To reinforce our commitment to the school in Cambodia, every two years, a trip is organised to the country. For the pupils who make the visit, the impact it has upon them is immeasurable. They understand the unfortunate truth of the unequal world in which we live and realise the positive contribution they can make to it. The experience opens their minds for accepting and understanding of others as they are immersed in a different culture and way of life.
The most recent visit was February 2020, where 18 Sixth Form pupils embarked on a life changing experience. The trip included a visit to the capital city, Phnom Penh. Here, the group went to S-21 and the Killing Fields and learnt the horrific truth about Cambodia’s recent past. They then threw themselves into Cambodian culture, visiting the markets and eating Cambodian street food, including deep fried spider and cockroach. They also visited the UNSECSO World Heritage site of Angkor containing the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. This included the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
The highlight of the trip was teaching in the school in Chi Phat village. For 3 days, the Sixth Formers took on the role of teachers and taught children a range of lessons that they had themselves created.
“When I taught in the school I was amazed at how happy everyone was when they had so little. Teaching in the school made me feel so good knowing the difference that our support is making to their lives and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
G Hill, Sixth Form student.
“I was surprised by how well many of them could speak English. This made me realise the impact that the English teacher was having in the school. It was lovely to be able to talk to the children and I now have many happy memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
H Till, Sixth Form student.