LOCATED IN KAMPONG CHAM PROVINCE IN CAMBODIA, THE VILLAGE OF SVAY KHLEANG IS HOME TO THE COUNTRY’S LARGEST COMMUNITY OF CHAM, CAMBODIA’S ETHNIC MUSLIM MINORITY.
Large family size, annual flooding and reliance on declining fish harvests have contributed to pervasive poverty and difficulty overcoming the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Cham children are faced with their own unique challenges. Despite the location of a public primary school in the village and a secondary school nearby, twenty percent of children in Kampong Cham province will never attend school. Many are periodically taken out of school to help with farming, fishing and childcare. As native Cham speakers, those who attend school often struggle to adapt to the Khmer language used in formal primary education and rarely encounter Cham-speaking teachers. Although 50% of Cham children complete primary school, only approximately 12% continue on to secondary school and less than 1% enroll in university where their lack of exposure to computer technology and English compound the challenges.
Why Support Spring of hope school
As part of the minority Muslim population in Cambodia, the ethnic Cham frequently suffer discrimination. Their advancement within Cambodian society has been hampered by a variety of obstacles including the fact that their native language is Cham as opposed to Khmer, which is the official state language. Less than 50% of Cham children graduate from primary school. Those who do graduate are rarely encouraged to pursue their education because many members of the Cham community feel there are no real opportunities for their youth to advance. Additionally, most Cham youth lack the proficiency in English that their peers in Phnom Penh have and have never been exposed to computers or the Internet, which further reduces their employment and career opportunities. With your support, the CCC vocational training school will be a crucial stepping-stone that will prepare dedicated and driven Cham students to succeed, support their families, and strengthen the Cham community by example.