Motivated to LearnBy Tola Sam
Chamrong, an 11-year-old sponsored child, lives with his parents in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia. His father is a farmer and construction worker, and his mother works in a village support group. Chamrong is the third of four children in the family. Chamrong is studying in grade 5. In the past, his grades were very poor. Among all the subjects at school, Khmer literacy was his weakest.
Chamrong's mother Eam has joined World Vision as a volunteer. Every weekend, she would facilitate and help children in reading camps improve five core reading skills. The education programme was set up to equip children with necessary literacy skills for life. It aims to help children aged between three and six years old lay their learning foundation, and assist children aged between six to 11 years old in developing their literacy skills. Even though Chamrong is over 6 years old, he could not read fluently. So, every weekend, he would spend his time helping his mother run reading camps and improve his reading skills at the same time.
When Chamrong was in grade 3, he came 36th in class because he could not comprehend the lessons. However, now he has become an outstanding student in class. He can read and write very well, and has shown improvement in numeracy. Chamrong's teacher Punlork says, “Comparing to other students, he has improved a lot. He is very good at mathematics. He can calculate very fast. He is a smart student, and I always encourage him.”
Through the reading camp and support from his parents, Chamrong's education progressed. He started to love studying, and spend his time revising at home. After school, he would spend time to learn English to enrich his knowledge. “In the future, I want to be a good teacher like my teacher [Punlok] because I want to teach the next generation to be smart like me,” says Chamrong.
Chamrong's life is not only impacted by World Vision’s education programme in his community, but also by the fact that he has been raised in a safe environment, which is something that his parents were not aware of. Their behaviour finally changed after they participated in a Celebrating Families session in 2018.
World Vision’s Celebrating Families training aims to transform attitudes and behaviours of parents/caregivers, faith leaders, and community members through equipping and empowering them to create a protective and nurturing environment for children, especially the most vulnerable, to thrive and to foster positive relationships within families.
Chamrong is a witness of domestic violence. “I felt so scared, I was afraid that my father would get hurt from being pushed by my mother.”
His father, 45-year-old Buntheoun, also recalls an incident of violence. “That was quite a long time ago, we had a fight because I ate food without realising that my wife had kept it for her brother. After that we would still occasionally have small arguments, but never using violence like that anymore, they would only be verbal so as not to let the neighbours know.
Buntheoun says, “I reflected on our argument, it does not benefit anyone at all. If my wife says something against me, I should be patient and maybe walk away, not talking straight back at her.” Now, Buntheoun and his wife have changed their behaviour toward their children and each other. They have also started to take care of and pay more attention to their children's education.