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Education Through the Eyes of Leaders

Samaritan’s Purse Cambodia

Em Chuong and Ric Ok sat on the school steps with us, talking and laughing as we watched the children on the playground. We could hear the sounds of learning and chatter from inside the classrooms. As we sat and talked with these two community leaders, they described how education was not valued in the past and how thankful they are for the impact Samaritan’s Purse has had in their community’s schools.

Em Chuong, age 62, is the head of the School Support Committee (SSC) for Kauk Prech School. This committee includes community members who volunteer to contribute to and advocate for the growth of children’s education in their village. Em Chuong described how education was viewed in the past; “In 1995, the Department of Education was not as involved as they are now. Classes were not taught at consistent times. Students could have 1 hour schools days, and no one cared. The community did not understand the importance of education.”

Ric Ok, village chief and SSC member, described the importance of education as seen through his 74 years of life experience. He explained a cascade effect that happens when children are educated. “Education is so important for the next generation. Our country needs people who have knowledge so they can lead and help our country, and produce human resources to develop their villages and improve life for the next generation,” he said.

By training teachers through the Better Teachers, Better Education (BTBE) program, Samaritan’s Purse has made quality education a reality for the children in Banteay Meanchey Province. As Ric Ok and Em Chuong described, properly educating youth can change a generation and create limitless potential. Their dream for the children of Banteay Meanchey is for them to have the knowledge to support themselves with quality jobs in the future; and to avoid illegal migration to Thailand, like they have seen in so many families. Ric Ok and Em Chuong said, “We are so thankful to Samaritan’s Purse for helping us educate our children.”

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