Now Linda Horgan, our UK Senior Partnerships Manager has safely returned to the UK, she reflects on her time in Cambodia- with a much clearer understanding of the projects and the need for the work done on the ground in Cambodia.
“I walked out the door of my home in Oxford at 1am on Sunday to make the journey to Siem Reap. It is a long long journey but an important one to make. I joined SeeBeyondBorders UK in July this year, and felt the importance of visiting the projects and meeting the teams- I needed to see with my eyes what the teams are trying to achieve.
I am a teacher by profession, so understand the dynamics and complexities of teaching. However Cambodia is a different situation with a different set of issues, challenges and opportunities. It’s been difficult to rebuild the teaching force since the Khmer Rouge and many of the teachers who currently teach in rural schools are untrained and are teaching the ways they were taught themselves- mainly rote teaching. This has had a significant impact on learning outcomes for children, as only 3% reach minimum education levels in maths and literacy by the age of 15 (PISA-D 2018). This is a figure far below similar countries in the region.
To add to this, Cambodian children were out of school for 64 weeks due to the Covid 19 pandemic – another devastating blow to children’s learning.
SeeBeyondBorders is tackling this education crisis by investing in high quality teaching, leading to high quality education. The quality of education is only as good as the quality of the teacher. We all recall our favourite teacher- I imagine they were excited about what they taught , they instilled a love of learning. The influence of that teacher can never be erased. SeeBeyondBorders is working with teachers to improve the system so that they will become inspiring teachers who instil that love of learning.
I visited schools where teachers were excited about teaching, and had access to tablets and technology to help them. I met teachers who were mentoring others and supporting their journey. I saw the eagerness on children’s faces as they learnt. I met five female changemakers, taking part in the project that hopes to inspire, activate and empower women with the skills and knowledge to take on leadership roles in the Cambodian education sector.
SeeBeyondBorders supports teachers through training and mentoring to improve their skills and confidence to teach. We work with communities to gain their support and engagement so that they are more active in the education of their children. We are also working with communities to ensure that schools are safe spaces for all children.
We will continue to learn from our projects and hope to expand our reach and move to other rural districts in the years ahead. We want to see teachers teach, children learn, and lives improve and thrive. The long long journey I made to Cambodia continues- I’m now back in the UK and hoping I can assist in garnering support for the great work the team continues to do.
SeeBeyondBorders has loyal and committed supporters and donors. We do not take this for granted and value each one. However in order to expand our reach and continue this valuable work, we need your continued support and that of others also. Please help us to help teachers inspire and instil a love of learning, so that learning outcomes can continue to improve and children can thrive.”