Kampong Speu, Kandal, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri,
Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and
Steung Treng Provinces,
- children with disabilities
- ethnic minority children
- teachers and school directors
- parents and members of School Support Committees
- local authorities
- general population
Cambodia has dedicated considerable resources to strengthening education over the last three decades, but many challenges remain. These challenges negatively impact the learning opportunities and outcomes – and eventually future economic and personal well-being – of many children in Cambodia, in particular, those of disadvantaged, poor and remote communities. Children with disabilities and children of ethnic minority background (often living in poor, remote areas) are amongst the most disadvantaged people in the country.
Cambodia’s under-resourced education system is ill-equipped to provide access to a quality education for children with special needs, both in terms of physical access and facilities, as well as in terms of appropriate and relevant learning materials, teaching methodologies and adequately trained teachers and educators. Cambodia’s children living with disabilities, by and large, miss out on school altogether, in particularly those from poor families. For those that make it to school, the education they receive there does not meet their needs nor is it aimed at giving them the best chance at developing their abilities and living their lives to their fullest potential.
The same can be said for children of ethnic minority backgrounds, most of which live in poor, remote areas. Besides the ethnic majority Khmer and the well-established communities of Vietnamese and Chinese descendants and migrants, Cambodia counts a sizeable number of ethnic minority groups such as the Phnong, Krung, Tampuan, Samre, Kuy, Rhade, Jarai and Cham to name but a few. These communities, who all speak their own language, often live in remote areas where they eke out a living the hard way, through subsistence farming. Poverty is the norm rather than the exception and often children’s labor or their help in the household is prioritized over their education. Add to that the fact that the language of instruction in the Cambodian public school system is Khmer, a language that they do not understand or speak, and it is easy to see why children of ethnic minorities have trouble learning at school, drop out of school, or do not go to school at all. Language barriers, distance to school and economic necessity all play a role. The circle of poverty does not get broken.
With this project, we give children with disabilities and children of ethnic minorities access to equitable, quality, and relevant primary education. We establish or expand inclusive education for children with disabilities and multilingual education for ethnic minority children. We also help strengthen the accountability of those responsible for education for these children as well as those that have the right to education.
Our initiatives include:
- Renovating classrooms and improving school infrastructure
- Learning materials support packages for all students in target schools
- Needs-based scholarships for children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Revision or creation of curricula and education tools
- Enhanced learning and support opportunities for children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Flexible classes for slow learners
- Creation of school management plans that cater for children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Professional development for teachers and capacity building for local education actors
- Implementation of child-friendly measures in schools with children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Campaigns promoting the enrolment of children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Engage parents and youth in advocacy for children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Training and support to communities in conducting accountability reviews
- Forums to share learning and best practices and mobilize resources in support of children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Policy dialogues on issues affecting children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
- Support documentation and research related to children with disabilities and ethnic minority children
Key Partner: The Rabbit School