This morning about 25 children are enjoyinga delicious breakfast at an iLEAD community pre-school in Kandal. Sok Ly, 5 years old, explains: “I eat rice soup and I like it. I eat here every morning. My favourite dish is rice with pork.”
This breakfast programme started on 26th January 2015. “AEA came to see us and initiated this. I was very happy when I heard this suggestion,”explained the teacher Lay Guec Sim. “Parents of children here can be very poor -most of them are farmers or workers in garment factories. Now they observe that children no longer return from school hungry nor do they ask for moneyanymore. I too am happy because good meals provide energy for children so they can learn better. They can become stronger, taller, and smarter. A good health is important for schooling.”
The menu is diversified to respond to nutrition needs of young children. They can receive rice soup, fruits or rice with pork or cake. This is made possible thanks to the generosity of a donor from Hong Kong with only $5 per day for 25 kids to eat every morning. “I would like to thank our donor and AEA” says the cook Lay Guec Seek. “I buy food everyday at the market and then come to cook here. I really like my job. Breakfast for children is very important.”
In the future staff from iLEAD community pre-schools will be trained on nutrition. They will learn how to prepare nutritious meals with local ingredients.
Improving quality education through trainings
Lay Guec Sim has attended 2 trainings already with AEA. “Last year,” she says, “the training was in Kep and it was about teaching in pre-schools. We learnt how to teach to very young children calculations, the Khmer language, games, songs, storytelling and story reading. This year, I was trained at iLEAD International School in Phnom Penh. It was about games. Here, we have a few games such as puzzles, wood circles, balls… Children choose the games and the teacher needs to manage the whole process of playing.” Lay Guec Sim said she is ready to attend new trainings and also share her own knowledge with communities. “I really enjoy working with young children and I want to learn to do my best.”
Through this project, AEA aims to reduce the cost and improve the quality of education for marginalized children, including more than 1,300 pre-school children and about 5,000 primary school children, in the provinces of Kandal, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng and Kep. This project is co-funded by iLEAD International School, a social enterprise based in the capital Phnom Penh that delivers education at international standards and generates revenues for education impact. Urban city parents get the opportunity to sponsor a poor rural child’s education and thus create urban-rural solidarity links within Cambodia.