Working with the street children of Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Being able to read and write Khmer is not only a fundamental right for Cambodian children, but also vital in terms of providing them with future job opportunities and a chance at being contributing members of society.
More than 2500 Cambodian children are being reached through Mlop Tapangs variety of educational programs :
- Public School Bridging Program (Non-formal education)
- Back to School Program (Support for re-integration into public school)
- Community Based Education at MT Community Centers
- Mobile Library
- Special Needs Class
Public School Bridging Program
Some of the children we meet are not easily able to return to school as they are well behind their contemporaries having been out of school for some time. Often, a child is too old to be reintegrated into the grade level they are capable of attending, while others simply do not have the social skills required to do so.
The Public School Bridging Program offers a comprehensive bridging program to help children get up to speed with their studies. Classes are conducted Monday through Friday at the Main Center with a curriculum developed in collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Education. Children attending classes at our Main Center are provided with two hot meals and a nutritious snack every day.
In addition they have access to other activities including computers, creative arts and crafts, English language lessons, and sports and recreation.
Back to School Program
The Back to School Program assists families who cannot afford to send their children to public school. Although public school is officially free for all Cambodian children, families are still required to pay for school uniforms, books and supplies. For many of the poorest families even these costs prevent them from sending their children for an education.
Effective and regular follow-up of children in the Back to School Program is essential for the program success. This has been ensured through regular weekly visits by to each of the 15 government schools we work with.
Community Based Education
Many children and families cannot access the M'Lop Tapang main center on a daily basis and as a result, can not take advantage of the educational classes held there. To address this problem, non-formal education is provided at Mlop Tapangs two Community Centers. Both of these centers are located in Sihanoukville slum areas where many impoverished families live.
The Mobile Library travels every day to areas where M'Lop Tapang does not have a physical presence but there is a high concentration of children in need.
The Mobile library often represents the first point of contact with children in need, and allows us to reach those who live outside of town or who have to work during the day as well as ensuring a constant presence in each of the communities in which we work.
Special Needs Class
Through our Outreach activities we have found, and continue to find, a number of children with physical and developmental disabilities. Many of these children suffer from undiagnosed learning difficulties.
A daily class for children with special needs is held at Mlop Tapangs Main Center to help with this problem. Children are given a chance to interact and bond with other kids through arts and crafts activities as well as dance and basic literacy.