Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Replies from Duncan and Savong

Sometime ago, I had a friend who had a project on giving ebooks to children in Cambodia to facilitate their learning. I sent an email to Mr Stuart (Duncan) and Savong to ask them for their opinions, and here are their replies, plus some news:

Wei Lei (Wei Li),

This week has been far too busy (our small office is sometimes frantic!)
so I have been slow to respond to your kind email. My apologies.

At the school things have been busy - but the biggest concern is for
Aneed's health which has been very poor for five days. She goes to
hospital tomorrow and hopefully they can treat whatever it is that
prevents her from eating. Savong has been worn out running everything
and also looking after the two children who, fortunately, have been in
fine health. Even little Sunna is now speaking Khmer.

At the orphanage we've kept a lid on the number of children - and Seyha,
that lovely guy who ran off the rails last month (lured by peer pressure
and bright lights of Siem Reap) has been granted permission to return.
I'm glad of that. What Savong is working out is whether he's able to
employ Seyha's mother at the orphanage. Like Seyha, she is a victim of
her husband who has a serious alcohol problem.

More and more, the orphanage has extended its outreach - really forming
what, in my country might be called the Social Welfare Department - at
least for the local community of 600 families (around 3,000 people.)

Apparently the classes that teach sewing have been extremely popular,
and the local women are industriously making items for the local market:
giving themselves self-employment, and also (importantly I think)
providing a vibrant adult presence at the orphanage so that the children
are surrounded by a caring community. Those new classrooms at the
orphanage have really facilitated a lot more than I ever envisaged - and
as a resource they continue to make so much possible. 

Recently a friend of mine, a retired architect John has been over in
Siem Reap, spending a fortnight at the school and orphanage and teaching
the art of drawing which the children loved. Self expression, I realise,
is a real luxury for these children. The classrooms are a fun place to

Those ebooks sound a great idea - I've read about them (are these the
ones that require a short burst of hand cranking?) The key is, of
course, the content - and being in Khmer would be a requirement for
uptake by younger children and by households. One way to manage
distribution might be to use the school (or other schools too) as a
lending library, and to use the ebooks in conjunction with lessons
(adult literacy included).

The usage and effect of these would need to be trialled and assessed, to
ensure that as a resource they are able to have the most possible
effect, but the self-powered nature of these gets over the biggest
hurdle of electronic anything in Cambodia. (University students there
love Apple Macs not because of style so much as the fact that their
batteries last longer.)

So I encourage your friend, and please let them feel welcome to "use"
the orphanage as a place to pilot the scheme.

My best regards to you, and my deepest thanks for your ongoing interest
and support of Savong's project. If you see students who took part in
the XinMin project please pass on the news that their efforts - their
labours and sweat - has made a huge difference for the orphans (a place
to learn and to play) but also the local community.

Each of you are welcome back any time!

Kindest Regards

Duncan Stuart FMRSNZ
Kudos Organisational Dynamics Limited

Dear Ang Wei Li,
It is Savong. how are you doing ? I hope that you are keeping well and thank you for writing me and I am sorry for replying you too late because I have been too busy and got sick but I am fine.
Children are going well and everything is going well the same before.

It is very good if you can make this book for children and students in the orphanage and school. Many students and children like English, math and history etc...
Presently I have been too busy and if you want to know more infor you click: you will see a hold infor and what we do.
Any questions, please let me know .
Kindest regards

Well, that sums it up. Do tell the other XSP scholars about these news, and pass it down to our junior (sec 3s) too!

-> Wei Li

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