Library Project at Romchek Primary School ~ Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia
Ponheary Ly Foundation has spent the last couple of years finely tuning their libraries at all primary school locations in an effort to put in the exact literacy supports necessary to ignite a fire in young readers and give space for them to build a lifelong love of reading.
Their primary school libraries are in areas of the country where all forms of education were lost during the Genocide of the late 1970’s. At the end of the Khmer Rouge Era, the perpetrators fled north and in 1998 when they were disbanded finally, they had sequestered themselves into remote areas of the northern frontier. The children of this post conflict society rarely attend school and if they do, that school will be badly equipped with under skilled teachers and none of the auxiliary supports that would allow children to come to school and be prepared to learn. This the work of Ponheary Ly Foundation; to provide programs in neglected remote schools that will deliver meaningful education to the children whose work it is to lift their village out of poverty.
They now have a lead (Cambodian) Librarian trainer and the success she’s had with the children at Koh Ker is amazing. She’s even got a program for young moms to come to the library and check out books to read to their very young children at home. This is extraordinary movement forward for Koh Ker Village; imagine that when PLF started there in 2006 there were only 3 literate adults in the whole village.
PLF has another school about 14 kilometers away from Koh Ker School, called Romchek with 235 students in grades K-6. They've been at Romchek for 3 years, the school is progressing rapidly and it is now time for their library to be put in. The plan is to duplicate the library at Koh Ker and have everything running by the end of the school year (September 2020).
What will be different about this library deployment is that the community has pulled together the lumber and labor for the construction of the actual building, leaving it to PLF to locate and train a librarian, build furniture and of course bring in loads of books and activities for the students.
We are deeply inspired by the dedication of this community for this dream of having a fully functioning library at their school and are dedicated to doing our part to help them achieve this goal.
Once the library is complete, PLF will finish out the ground floor and move one of the classrooms into it, as currently grades 4 and 5 are sharing a classroom and it’s a chaotic learning environment for the students.
The costs will be primarily all in the start up. Ongoing costs will be minimal, as the library will fold into an already existing “Book Rotation Scheme” wherein books arrive every 2 weeks to Library #1, pushing out older books to Library #2, which pushes out their oldest books to Library #3 and so on. In this scheme 1500 students have access to the same $2 book.