Ten minutes of playing and learning, especially with an electronic device connected to the Internet, is far from sufficient for a child, and particularly for a child with a disability that does not have many choices. With a limited number of tablets in the library set up by a disabled-children organization known as Hands of Hope Community and located in a public lower-secondary school, (about 15 km from Phnom Penh) the children have to take turns with five at a time to learn and play with the tablet.
With the assistance of the librarian who is also a teacher, Ms Em Chhorvy, the children with disabilities were guided through a number of steps: from starting up the tablets to entering the e-library, getting to the Khmer scripts and then learning them.
For those children who cannot speak, Ms Chhorvy showed them the scripts, using her finger and writing in the air, so the children can see and then she asked them to point out the correct answers on the tablet screen .
“The Khmer Reading Program in the e-library is exceptionally good since the children can see both scripts and pictures,” said Ms Chhorvy who is also vice-president of The Cambodian Intellectual Disability and Autism Network. “It’s the age of ICT, and hence, children love technology regardless of whom and where they are,” she added.
Like Ms Chhorvy, the man who set up the HHC center was not only impressed with the e-library and tablets, provided by Aide-et-Action, but also was looking for more support of this kind. “The children love to use and play with the devices and we are just concerned now that we do not have enough of them for them,” said Mr. Chann Sarin, Executive Director of HHC.
Thanks to all the hard work in supporting 36 children with disabilities in the community, HHC has been offered a space within Anuvath pubic lower-secondary school in Ta Khmao town, Kandal province. Once in a while the centre also invites students from the school to join and play with children with disabilities. “We do this so the children will get along with each other without discrimination,”Sarin explained.
“I like to come and play with them and I don’t discriminate against children with disabilities,” said Sim Sorya, an 8th grade student.
The centre’s library has five tablets so far that have been provided by AEA in a pilot project. For that reason, the 36 children have to take turns using the tablets and must spend 10 minutes reading before they can start to use them.