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■Learning skills (2010/03/24)

I arrived at Battambang at the end of February through Bangkok and Poi Pet by bus. It was very astonishing for me the gap between Thailand and Cambodia that I felt when I crossed the border. I felt Cambodia has just starting developed in about 10 years after terrible era. However, after I got in Battambang and meet staffs and children of KnK Cambodia, I was very encouraged because they have a big hope for future and try to study hard, even though they have suffering backgrounds such as trafficking, lives as street children and poverty of their families.

I will introduce current situation and activities in House for Youth in these 2 weeks.

Vocational Trainings
We have 6 trainings in the center (Silk weaving, Sewing, Furniture making, Literacy, English and Computer) and 3 training outside the center (Art, Beauty salon, Car repairing). Children study from 7 am to evening and they really concentrate on their learning. For example, one boy was in jail and participated in KnK’s drawing activity. After he left the jail, he was living in KnK for 2 years and now he is supported to go to art activity outside, where there are many good teachers in Cambodia. Another boy who was living in KnK and took car repairing activity is now reintegrated and he works in a car repairing shop.

Silk weaving training.

Students sawing silk made by
silk workshop students.

Furniture making training.

Car repair training in a car factory.

Make up training
in a beauty salon.

Certificate Ceremony and Entrance Exam for Computer Class
We held an entrance exam for the fourth term computer class at the beginning of March. There are over 40 students coming to take a test from community. We check the level of poverty of each child and chose 38 students according as the result of the entrance exam (easy English test).
I asked children to write why they want to take a computer class and more than 30? students said that it is efficient for job.

Students received a certificate.

An entrance exam.

English and Japanese Class
Other volunteers and I teach English and Japanese, because an English teacher left her job last week after she got a new job at hospital.? Children are very clever to learn foreign language and very quick to remember. Regarding Japanese, children learned greetings, short conversation, number and how to introduce themselves. They are very happy to use “Ohayo” or “Sayonara” to me.

Japanese words by hand writing.

Training in Jail
We have 3 activities (drawing, sewing and literacy class). Other organizations such as UNICEF have other activities like agricultural program. They need vocational training before they leave the jail. It is because they may commit a crime again if they cannot get a job and became to suffer from poverty.?

Community Research

I visited four families of KnK students from community and asked some questions to know the need of community.

1) A boy from a computer class
He is a student from first term of computer class and he is still a student. His father is sick and cannot work. He wants to work at office after he graduated school.

2) 2 girls from silk weaving
One girl thinks she could not work regarding silk weaver because there is no space to put a weaving machine in her house and she wants to work at a beauty salon if possible.
The other girl is living with her sister who live in Battambang because her mother (her father has dead) live in country side. She wants to work for a silk weaving factory in Battambang.
Two of them stopped go to school several years ago.

3) A boy from furniture making

He is the oldest son in his family and he can earn money if he makes furniture and sell them on Saturday and Sunday, so he is very satisfied with skill that he could get. He stooped go to school 3 years ago and he helped his mother by selling ice cream. He wants to make living with furniture making.

Other Organizations in Battambang
I visited 2 other organizations in Battambang which has a shelter for children like KnK. KnK accepted more than 10 children from these organizations. They are dealing with smaller children than those who in KnK and they have a similar activities and vocational trainings of KnK like sewing, agricultural training and supplementary class. After they leave the organizations, some go back to their home, some go to family group caring, and others go to KnK to take more vocational trainings,
KnK also has an agricultural project, but we do not have good equipment and teachers for it. For some children who want to go back to their family, agricultural training should me necessary, so we need to expand this project.

Problems of? Supplementary class
Teachers’ salary in Cambodia is very small and they need more money to make their living. So they usually hold supplementary classes during 12:00-1:00 and children have to pay for the teachers if they want to take the supplementary classes. If children do not take the supplementary class, their grade might be bad.
For poor children in Cambodia cannot pay for the class, so they dropped classes and they have to give up school at the end.

English class in KnK.

Last of all, I convinced that this center is very necessary and efficient for children. Many children came to KnK after they live in other organizations’ shelters such as World Vision because they became over 15 years old or they had stayed for the maximum length of stay at the organization. They are not prepared to be integrated and get a job. If they go back to home, they cannot find a job they want and have to live under poor condition as same as before.

Girls living in KnK.

They need situation of making their dream come true, if they make an effort.
I sincerely hope their happy future after they leave KnK.

Internship: Chieko Shibata
Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
4-3-22 ShimoOchiai Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 161-0033 Japan
Tel:03-6279-1126  Fax:03-6279-1127
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