Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cambodian Service-Learning - Emmanuel Christian Primary School

The Emmanuel Christian School in Phnom Penh is a primary school for 150 underprivileged children who used to make their living on the garbage mountain.  The school is currently housed in an old former leather factory, in a village not far from the Choeung Ek killing fields.   It is sponsored by a Hong Kong NGO, the International Christian Concern.

There were not enough classrooms, so some classrooms were simply partitioned by panels.  The school charges no fees, and even provides the children with uniforms.  The kids that are not wearing uniforms are the new ones.  The school is very popular, and has to turn away many kids. 

The children are very well disciplined.  They were having their regular classes in their classrooms when we arrived.   Then they took their own chairs, filed out of their classrooms, set their chair down, and in just a few minutes, all 150 children were seated in very neat rows.  Amazing. 

The children were very smart.  They learned very quickly the songs and the movements that our students taught them.   They learned to play the games we taught them in very little time, and follow the instructions very well - even when they were enjoying themselves, laughing and screaming loudly.   They have obviously been taught well.  Not just in discipline, but also in English, and in Christian principles.

In a nearby site, the new school house is being built.  When it is finished, probably in a few months’ time, they are going to have better facilities. 

The ICC runs an international school besides Emmanuel Primary School.  Some of the teachers at Emmanuel are seconded from the international school.  And when the kids graduate from Emmanuel Primary School, they can enroll for free at the secondary section at the international school.  The ICC ministry is obviously very well planned and very effective.


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