- Dr. Jaime Correa, Director of Projects of Salesian Missions, New Rochelle, visited Don Bosco Kep to start the project of disabled students’ friendly campus.
- The project was approved by USAID in its 90% with a contribution by Don Bosco Mondo, Bonn, Germany.
- The goal is to make that the Don Bosco Technical School in Kep Province can be also assisted by disabled youth from the region of Kep, Kampot and Takeo.
- Disabled children and youth suffer discrimination in Cambodia, especially in their own families and schools, closing their doors for a better future.
Dr. Jaime Correa, the Projects’ Director of Salesian Missions of New Rochelle, the Salesian Procure compromises to assist Don Bosco works in poor countries around the world, stands near Vibol, a blind student of the Art Section in Don Bosco Technical School Kep. Dr. Correa spent a week in Cambodia opening the official implementation of the project supported mostly by USAID. It consists in making the Technical School accessible to disabled youth – or persons with special physical abilities. Kompot Province, especially, has a special number of disabled children, many of them suffering from discrimination in their own families and schools. It condemns disabled kids to become beggars or to remain isolated at their own homes without any hope.
- Brian and Christina Good from Hampshire, England, spent three months in Kep Province teaching English in Don Bosco.
- Their first time in Asia, the couple decided to share with poor young people.
- They enjoy the nearness of the Cambodian youth and their will to learn.
Dr. Brian William Good is doctor in business administration and tutor in human resources management of the University of Surrey. Christina, his wife, is MSc in psychology and a dedicated English teacher in different institutions such as the Salesian College of Farnborough. Both joint the experience of the Salesian Lay Association of England to become volunteer teachers at the Don Bosco Technical School in Kep City, Cambodia. Some of their own children have been volunteers in Africa and now, after retirement, they decided to share their experience and knowledge with youth from countries like Cambodia. In their first experience in Asia, they admired the simplicity and kindness of the Cambodian youth and promised to return in a near future.
- A Berliner mother spends some months in Cambodia sharing her experiences in hospitality with youth from poor communities.
- She belongs to the Senior Experten Service (SES) of Germany, a program that gathers thousands of German pensioner experts ready to support companies and organizations abroad, including charitable groups like Don Bosco in Cambodia.
- Uti Hennecke Bauernfeind came with her husband, retired radio journalist professor Wolfgang Bauernfeind, also SES, to train students from Don Bosco Kep Hospitality Section.
Uti Hennecke says good bye to her students at the beginning of February with her husband, retired radio journalist Wolfgang Bauernfeind, both associated to the German Senior Experts Service, a group that gathers more than thousand senior experts, mostly retired German people ready to share their skillful knowledge abroad. Enterprises can request the presence of German senior experts, but also charitable organizations such as Don Bosco in Cambodia. Uti – or Yuti as her pupils call her – has come to Cambodia twice already, getting to know the Cambodian culture of unprivileged youth that have the opportunity to study in Don Bosco.
- If you are a disabled person in Cambodia, you are 70% likely to be poor and 100% discriminated and marginalized from society.
- Some families keep their disabled children or relatives hidden from the public and many deal with them as animals.
- Disabled people in Cambodia are discriminated in health services, although there is a legislation that gives them priority.
- Children with disabilities are not sent to school and many of them are used in begin. If you try to support a disabled kid, his/her “owners” will oppose to it because they are seen as a financial source.
- Supporting disabled students in institutions like Don Bosco Kep is guaranteeing the end of this gloomy reality for disabled people in Cambodia.
Cambodia has passed for a recent history of violence, war and poverty. Although the first decade of the 21st century has been of a positive economical growing and reconstruction, the country still striving with many consequences of a post-war period such as orphans, widows, epidemics, human trafficking and disabled people.
Cambodia is also one of the most mine-polluted nations in the world (MAG, 2012) with 4 to 6 million mines exist within the country (CMAC, 2011), especially in the northwest region. Although the number of casualties has been reduced along the years, it stills as one of the highest of the world. About 40,000 persons, including children, live with amputated members (UNICEF, 2011). Families, in which the father or mother is a disable due to land mines, are evidently poorer according to Cambodia Social Economic Survey (2004).
The Cambodian 2008 Census estimates the number of disable people in 629,279 persons (Census, 2008), mostly living in rural areas.
- Andoung Meas is a district at the east of Banlung with a big population of Cambodian ethnic minorities where education is seen as a luxury.
- We are going to support the initiative of a Don Bosco past pupil who thinks he must do something for his own people. He opened a school at his own home.
- The children and youth are Jarai, Kreng, Tapung and Khmer from the nearby villages.
- We need to create a dormitory for children coming from very far villages, so they can attend the public school and receive a complementary education with Thit Rochom.
Rochom Thit is a Jarai, a Cambodian ethnic minority based mostly in Ratanakiri Province, 700 kilometers at the north of Kep. In July 2014 he finished social communication & journalism at the Don Bosco Technical School (Don Bosco Hatrans). Different to many Cambodian youth looking for better opportunities in big cities like Phnom Penh, he thought on his own people and other Cambodian ethnic minorities of his own province. Working in a local NGO, he asked his parents to dedicate a piece of his land to create one of his dreams: a school for children and teenagers.
Being a past pupil of the Don Bosco education, Thit applies the rules and methods he learnt in two years in Kep such as formative lessons besides the English and Khmer courses for children from 6 to 15 years old. Most of the children attend the public school of Andoung Meas District, a region at the east of Banlung with a population of more than 2 thousand persons. But the school is not enough, since the problem of teachers remains difficult. “Many come to the region, but then return to their own provinces, others teach, but many times they are absent trying to get extra incomes in plantations… so children get a very low education,” said Thit.